Costa Almeria Living: For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health


By the time you read this column I will have been married for 18 years. I know all the old jokes… “would have served less time for murder” etc. Seriously though, eighteen years is a long time! During that time our families and friends have seen births and deaths. People that we thought would still be around unfortunately aren’t. Couples we knew have divorced, sometimes amicably, more often not.

If I was a betting man I would have bet on us living in America not Spain when we got married, and no way would I have ever envisaged living in Spain with Sands, three cats, and two Harley’s while making a living primarily as a writer and a blogger.

Some journey indeed, and the best part is that it is one we have made together! And it isn’t over yet.


So it was with a certain amount of glee that I read recently that couples are more inclined to stay married these days in Spain as a result of the recession.

“According to figures from the regional courts, fewer partnerships have broken down in the past year, since more are forced to stay together for financial reasons”

Divorce it seems to me has become far too easy and frivolous, making the decision to marry an easy one… after all easy in, easy out as they say, so overall I don’t think that it is a bad thing if the current recession is making people ‘stick it out’, finding a compromise is what marriage is about. I should know… after 18 years I am still searching for one!

The report made interesting reading quoting the impossibility of obtaining a second mortgage, job loss and insecurity concerning employment the main reasons divorce figures have fallen by 4.8 in the last year, and legal separations have gone down by 6.6 per cent. Last year, one couple split up every four minutes, with more couples splitting up in Andalucia (21,584) last year than anywhere else in Spain.

The wedding vows included: richer or poorer, better or worse, sickness and health for a reason.

Health tourism

I see that Spain wants the country of origin to remain responsible for health care for expats in the EU and has proposed restrictions on the so-called ‘health tourism’ in Europe.

Under current European law you cannot prohibit a person looking for health care in another member state, but what can be done is to make the process so complicated that it does not happen?

The current thinking is that a citizen from one country who lives in another, and who wants to be treated in a third country, will have to obtain an authorisation from his or her doctor for the transfer. The idea of such restrictions is to make the person either return to his or her country of origin, or to remain in their country of residence for treatment.

At the moment tourists are only entitled to emergency cover while in Spain, and following treatment the bill is then sent to their country of origin.

So Spain remains firmly against the previous proposal that citizens can use private or public facilities in any member state and that this should be paid for by the country of residence (as opposed to origin) of the patient.

It is a weird world is it not? More Spanish staying married because they can’t afford to get divorced, and I suspect more unhealthy expats heading home for treatment because Spain simply can’t afford to be sponged off anymore, not least because of the recession.

By Chris Marshall


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