In this article we will illustrate with all the details to take into account, legally speaking, about some differences between a civil partnership and a marriage.

A civil partnership (pareja de hecho or unión estable de convivencia) does not have exactly the same obligations and rights as a married couple, the first type of union is subject to regulations in force in each of the Spanish Regions, while the latter is regulated by the Spanish Civil Code. Therefore, the rights and obligations of the civil partnerships could differ depending on the Spanish Region, unlike marriage, which will be the same throughout the Spanish territory. While we are writing this article, the State/Spain is processing a bill aimed at unifying some of the rights of civil partners, but it has not yet been approved.

What is a civil partnership?

There are people who can be a civil partnership even without having registered, for example, in Catalonia there are several cases that can make you a civil partnership (living with your partner at the same home for two years, having children together…). These assumptions are often called unregistered civil partnership, since it has not been registered in any public record.

Where should one go to formalize the union?

The first step to carry out when we have decided on one of the options (registered civil partnership or marriage) is the act of constituting it. In the case of a civil partnership, the required documentation must be presented at the Civil Partnership Registry, town hall or before a notary (depending on the region or city). In Barcelona, notaries can be in charge of registering civil partnerships in the specific Registry of Catalonia. The marriage can be formalized in the Civil Registry, providing the necessary documentation or in the case of celebrating a religious catholic wedding, the church will take care of all the legal procedures. In any case, a marriage file must be completed beforehand, which makes getting married longer than making a civil partnership.

Some benefits from civil partnership and marriage

  • Work leave permit after celebrating the marriage or registering as a civil partnership (15 calendar days in both unions)

  • Work leave permit for serious illness or death of the partner or spouse

  • In the event of the death of one of the cohabitants being these tenants, the other has the right to subrogation in the lease as stipulated in the LAU (Ley de arrendamientos urbanos). This would mean that the survivor, not being the owner of the rental contract, would become the owner. The same would happen in the case of spouses.

  • Civil partners enjoy the widow’s pension as long as they meet the requirements stipulated in the LGSS (Ley General de la Seguridad Social).

  • With regard to the possibility of adopting, according to the Civil Code, both civil partners and married couples are eligible for it.

  • Possibility of requesting a residence permit.

Some differences between civil partnership and marriage

Personal income tax

The civil partnership cannot file the tax return jointly, while a married couple can; This joint declaration sometimes is beneficial to enjoy tax exemptions.

The article is done with the current regulation. Current regulation can change. We recommend contacting Barcelona’s lawyers for any question related to civil partnership or marriage.

Piñera del Olmo

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