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PROPERTY

House split ruling divides divorcing couple

A Spanish judge has found a novel way to settle a property dispute in a divorce case: she has split the couple's property down the middle.

House split ruling divides divorcing couple
The decision has been called the "lesser of two evils" by the judge. Screen Grab: YouTube

Outlining her decision, the judge said the couple's 250-square-metre (820 square foot) apartment could easily be turned into two separate living spaces with "minor adaptions". 

After the work is carried out, the wife will live upstairs with four bedrooms and three bathrooms while her husband will have a downstairs unit with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The judge admitted there might be initial "suspicions" after the unusual decision, according to Spain's El País newspaper.

But she also argued the occasional awkward moment on the stairs was the "lesser of the two evils" given the "difficult economic panorama" facing the couple. 

She also said the new living arrangements would mean the couple's two young daughters got to see both their father more often.

The father will now have to pay for the renovations, although it is his parents that own the disputed property.

His wife will also receive an allowance of €650 ($860) a month for one year — an amount awarded because her husband had convinced her to stay home and look after the children.

But the judge has asked the woman to review her request for €7,135 a month from the father of her children.

The Seville judge's decision to split a house down the middle is reminiscent of the 1989 comedy The War of the Roses.

In that film, a warring couple divide their family home by carefully measuring square metreage on the house's plans. 

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LIFE IN SPAIN

What to do about insects and other pests in your Spanish home?

Bugs and insects can sometimes be a problem in Spanish homes, particularly during the summer months. Here's what to do if you get an infestation and how to prevent them from happening.

What to do about insects and other pests in your Spanish home?

Fruit flies buzzing around the bins, cockroaches in the kitchen and ants invading your food cupboards can be a common sight in your Spanish home, more often than not in summer.

But what can you do when insects invade your home? 

What types of pests are common in Spain?

Bugs and insects that commonly invade homes in Spain include fruit flies, ants, stink bugs, cockroaches, pantry moths, plaster bagworms and mosquitoes.

Those who have pets may also have a problem with your animals bringing fleas and ticks into the home too.

READ ALSO: Ticks are proliferating in Spain: How to avoid them and protect yourself

These can cause a nuisance, not only flying around your home and biting you (in the case of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks), but they can get into your food and lay eggs in your cupboards.

How can I get rid of bugs in my home?

One of the most important ways you can keep insects and other bugs out of your home is to eliminate food sources.

This means always doing the washing up as soon as you’ve finished eating so there are no scraps laying around, sweeping kitchens and dining rooms regularly and putting opened food items in the fridge instead of the cupboards.

You also need to make sure you regularly empty your rubbish bin and that there are no gaps between the lid and the bin that flies can get in through.

Dusting, hoovering and general regular cleaning will also keep other insects at bay such as plaster bagworms and moths that lay larvae on your walls and ceiling.

Those with pets should make sure that animals are treated with flea and tick protection and combed through with special flea combs to make sure bugs are not stuck in their fur.

Summer can of course be very hot in Spain, with temperatures regularly in the high 30°Cs or even low 40°Cs in some parts of Andalusia and other regions, meaning that windows and doors are often left open to ensure a breeze. Unfortunately, this means that your home is more accessible to insects too.

If you can, get a fly screen for your doors and windows, so you can leave them open, but no bugs can get in. These fine mesh screens can be bought from hardware or home stores such as Leroy Merlin and can simply be lifted into place when you need them.

If you can’t get screens installed, then consider planting certain plants on windowsills or balconies. Lavender, basil, lemongrass and mint are all natural insect repellents.

Electric fly swats, ant traps and sticky paper can also all help eliminate pests in your home. 

READ ALSO: What venomous species are there in Spain?

Insecticides

When the situation becomes worse, simple everyday cleaning won’t suffice and you may need to use insecticides to kill the infestation. There are many different brands in Spain. Both Protect Home and Compo have several different products you can use.

If you don’t want to use chemical insecticides, natural ones made from white vinegar, citrus plants, or peppermint oil can also work.

Pest control

If the situation becomes completely out of control and you find that insects are not only entering your home but that they are breeding there too, it’s time to call in the professionals. Pest control services are available across Spain.

The first step is to check your home insurance to see if they will cover this service. If they won’t, they may be able to suggest a company that can help.

Otherwise, a quick Google search for ‘Control de plagas’ (pest control) and then your area should provide you with plenty of options.

According to the home website Habitissimo, pest control services in Spain can range from €80 up to €2,000 depending on the type of infestation you have, how serious the problem is and how big your property is. On average it will cost you around €267.

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