A 24-year-old from Catalonia who sued his divorced parents after they refused to keep supporting him financially, lost his case because a judge ruled “relatives cannot be expected to maintain the illusions or expectations” of someone who is an adult.
In a ruling made public on Thursday by the appellate court in Barcelona, the man who has not been named was told that he “must accept the responsibilities that come with his decisions”.
The man had argued that his parents should cover his food expenses after he decided to return to college to study.
The court heard that when his parents separated, the then teenager spent time in both his parents homes and on turning 18 he had received a study scholarship to pursue a vocational course but had spent the money on a tattoo.
When his own parents insisted he should consider his career options more seriously, the young man moved in with his paternal grandparents who have supported him since.
But the man argued that now that he had decided to return to his studies, his parents and not his grandparents should shoulder the cost.
Under Spanish law, parents are not automatically absolved of legal obligation to support their offspring beyond the age of 18 but are expected to do so if they are unable to support themselves during full time study or while jobseeking, providing they can prove that they are incapable of supporting themselves.
But the legal obligations are a grey area that can be decided by a court on a case by case basis.
But in this case, the judge ruled that the man “had not proved attempts to adapt his lifestyle to his own [financial] situation, nor is it evident that he has done everything possible to cover his own needs like an adult person,” reads the ruling.
Spaniards are among the latest in Europe to fly the nest. Recent data reveals that the average age of emancipation in Spain is 29 years-old, meaning young people spend an entire decade more living under their parents roofs than their counterparts in Sweden (which at 19 years, has the lowest age of emancipation within the European Union).
Only in Malta (31.1 years), Italy (30.1 years) and Greece (29.4 years) do parents have to put up with their offspring for longer.
A prolonged economic crisis and an unemployment rate reaching 26 percent at its peak – and almost 50 percent youth unemployment – has made it difficult for young people to find financial independence and a place of their own.