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Five things you should know about Spain’s new Family Law

Spain's government has preapproved its long-awaited Family Law. Here's everything parents and other people with family in Spain should know about it, from paid leave to care for loved ones to a new €100 monthly child benefit.

mother baby spain family law
Spain's new Family Law will address "key problems in the daily life of millions of people" Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra said during a press conference on Tuesday. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

The Spanish government on Tuesday December 13th finally approved the draft of the new Family Law after a year of negotiations. 

The legislation will address “key problems in the daily life of millions of people”, Spain’s Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The law is designed to help make life easier for families by introducing new rules such as extended paid leave to care for sick children and handing out a €100 cheque to all new mothers, instead of just those who work. 

We’ve broken down the five most important clauses that make up this legislation.

Paid leave to care for family members

One of the most important perks of the new law is that it allows parents to take five days paid leave off work to look after a sick child.

This is also extended to parents, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings, if you need to take care of any these other members of your family.

In the case of cohabitants, such as a flatmate or partner, you can also take five days paid leave in the case of hospitalisation or surgery without hospitalisation, where the patient needs to be taken care of at home following the procedure.

There will also be up to four days paid leave a year for family emergencies such as if you need to accompany your partner to their doctor’s appointment.

A new eight-week unpaid leave will be granted to parents which they will be able to use up intermittently when they choose, up until their child turns eight years old. It may be used for example if your child is going through a difficult time or needs to change schools. This rule will be rolled out progressively so that it will be six weeks in 2023 and eight weeks in 2024.

The subsidy for birth will also be extended to those families who adopt or foster children and the orphan’s pension will be extended by one year up to age 26. Parents will also be granted leave to care for a minor with cancer or other serious illnesses, up to the age of 26 in the case of disabilities.

Single-parent families 

Under the new law, single-parent families with two children will be considered a ‘familia numerosa’ (large family) and be granted the same rights to benefits and certain discounts as these families. This will also extend to families with two children who have disabilities, families with two children headed up by a victim of gender violence, and a spouse who has obtained sole custody without the right to alimony.

A new category will be created called ‘Families with the greatest support needs for upbringing’ which includes familias numerosas and single-parent families with two children.

Familias numerosas with four children (previously it was five) will now also be part of this category as will families with triplets (instead of quadruplets as it was before) and families with three children who have a low income (up to 150 percent of the IPREM which will be €600 per month in 2023).

READ ALSO – Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?

100 handout for mothers with children from 0 to 3 years

A parenting cheque of €100 per month per child (€125 in the case of single-parent families) will be extended to mothers with children from ages 0 to 3 years, whether they work or not.

Previously this was only given to those who were employed. This means it will include all mothers, even those who receive unemployment benefits. Those who have temporary or part-time work will also receive the benefit.

According to Spain’s Ministry of Social Rights, this is set to benefit some 200,000 to 250,000 new mothers.

READ MORE: How new mothers in Spain can get an extra €100 a month

Recognition of ‘all forms of family’

The new law now recognises all types of families in Spain, meaning that everyone will have equal rights.

This includes those who are married or have registered as a pareja de hecho (common-law partners). Common-law partners will now have access to the 15 days of permission for registration, like those who get married, and will be able to access the same permits.

The law will also recognise LGTBQ+ families, families with disabilities, multiple families and adoptive or foster families. Multiple families – those with children from more than one partner will also have special protection, and the children of unmarried couples may be registered in the registry by the non-pregnant parent.

‘Parental PIN’ ban

The new rule will prohibit both parents and guardians from preventing access to information on family diversity through the so-called ‘Pin Parental ’.

In effect, the PIN is a veto that allows parents to stop their children from partaking in complementary school workshops that incorporate “ideological or moral learning against their convictions”. The workshops are not voluntary after-school activities, but part of the basic curriculum within normal school hours.

The Food Payment Guarantee Fund will also be improved and will benefit children of common-law couples, adults with disabilities or those who are dependent on others.

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Spain is the second most expensive country in the world to get married

Getting married in Spain is now twice as expensive as it was a decade ago, but the spike in prices has done little to slow the post-pandemic rush to the altar.

Spain is the second most expensive country in the world to get married

Despite its reputation as one of Europe’s more affordable countries, Spain certainly isn’t a cheap place to get married.

In fact, according to data from Statistica, it’s the second most expensive place on the planet to tie the knot, following the United States. In Spain, the average wedding now costs almost €22,000, with many events costing as much as €30,000, depending on how extravagant the bride and groom are willing to go.

READ ALSO: The ultimate guide to Spanish wedding etiquette

According to figures from The Knot Worldwide’s ‘Essential Book of Weddings‘, the average price of a wedding in Spain has increased by around €1000 compared to 2019, reaching around €21,500.

Spain leads countries including France (where the average wedding costs €16,500), England (almost €18,000), Italy (third on the list with €21,000) and Canada (€20,500), despite all these countries surpassing Spain in almost all economic indicators, and especially in terms of average salary.

Yet Spaniards seem to have no problem splashing out on their wedding day.

In fact, according to’s ‘Wedding Price Index‘, Seville is the 4th most expensive location in the world to tie the knot, trailing only the exclusive Hamptons in the US, Positano in Italy, and Fogo Town in Canada. In the famously romantic Andalusian city, a wedding with 100 guests can cost a whopping €34,000.

Prices on the up

But the trend is much deeper than the recent inflationary shocks and goes back a decade. Ainara Regueira, a wedding planner, told Spanish outlet La Sexta that “ten years ago a wedding could cost between €10,000 and €12,000 and now it’s around €22,000”. 

And it seems that nowadays Spaniards want more extravagant weddings, with some events taking on a festival-like feel, rather than the traditional service and reception. “Now they want lights, lasers, [something] known as ‘crazy hour’,” Regueira says, adding that it’s almost more like “being at a party in Ibiza than at a wedding”. 

Lights and fireworks shows, drone camera footage, classic cars and costume changes, weddings in the social media age aren’t what they used to be, and are getting more and more expensive as a result. Roberta Orta from Infinita Viajes explained to La Sexta that some Spanish weddings have even become like concerts: “The bride and groom are looking for a DJ with a lot of street cred, and professional musicians…that can cost up to €30,000”. 

Post-pandemic boom

Despite the rise in costs, weddings are actually booming in Spain, particularly after the pandemic. After weddings were cancelled throughout 2020, in 2021 weddings in Spain increased by 60 percent compared to 2020, according to a recent INE report, and the boom has continued into 2022 and 2023.

READ ALSO: Civil union or marriage in Spain: which one is better?

Perhaps love is in the air. Perhaps the pandemic forced people into action. Perhaps people managed to save up enough money during the lockdowns to actually be able to afford a wedding.

Whatever the reason, and despite the recent surge in costs, in reality, expensive weddings are nothing new in Spain, and Spaniards have never been particularly frugal when it comes to celebrating. As you might have noticed when it comes to baptisms or first communions, the Spanish are not shy about going big for these events. Nor are they concerned about splashing the cash and making it a day to remember.

In fact, very few countries celebrate these milestones with such extravagance and decadence while simultaneously disregarding their own personal finances. Simply put, for Spaniards no cost is too much on their big day.

Cultural explanation?

Luis Ayuso Sánchez, professor of Sociology at the University of Granada, explained to El País that traditionally this extravagance comes from the importance of family in Spanish society. “When two people got married, their family network expands. That’s why it was important for the whole town to go to the wedding, for everyone to find out. It was a way to show society the support network.”

Generally speaking in Mediterranean countries, Ayuso adds, societies are more family-oriented than in northern Europe. “In Spain, the support network has been fundamental historically, because there was no welfare state, and that was replaced by the family. This is very much within our culture and to some extent, it is still maintained, as we have seen with the crisis, unemployment, covid… The family is still very important. Hence, the ritual of marriage, which symbolised relational support, remains strong in Spanish society.”

Inviting all those aunts and uncles and cousins is, of course, more expensive.

But the upward trend in weddings (their frequency that is, not the price) is likely a short-term trend. Looking at broader trends, marriage rates have been in near free fall since the 1990s, according to a study ‘The Evolution Of The Couple in Spain’ by the BBVA foundation.