Laws have been put in place by states to govern the manner in which people conduct themselves and live, with the aim of bringing order at various levels.
One such area has been the marriage institution that has seen different laws to govern living together, the rights while living together, and even in instances where people are separated.
In Spain, the common law has brought the legal protections to couples who live together even though they are not married through a civil union; this is achieved by applying for Pareja de Hecho. In this article, we will explain all aspects of this particular common law partnership, including its benefits, conditions and costs.
What is Pareja de Hecho?
Pareja de Hecho is a law that provides for the civil union of two people who are in a relationship to live as married even though they are not. The law gives room for legal co-habiting of people in relationships either homosexually or heterosexually.
Just as marriage laws accord the couple's rights and privileges, as well as legal protections under the marriage union, Pareja de Hecho provides legal protection, rights, and privileges for those in relationships even without signing the marriage agreement. If each partner signs with the relevant bodies, the union is likely to be viewed and granted equal legal provisions such as in marriages.
However, it should also be noted that the interpretation is varied across regional laws hence the interpretation and application in the UK is different from the one in Spain. It is wise to check the regional variations carefully if you are considering this option.
Conditions to Acquire Pareja de Hecho
Partnership in Spain under which the law is applied is considered to be two people of the same sex or opposite sexes in a relationship and who are living together. There is no specified period for which the two individuals should be living together to be referred to as partners.
However, there are specific conditions that the two should meet, such as being of the legally recognised adult age, both have a sound mind, the two are not relatives or rather related by blood, and both are living together locally in Spain.
Also, you will need documentary proofs such as having children together, both being named in the Libro de Familia or on the Padron, and the registration with the Registry Office of Registro de Uniones de Hecho also help in justifying the relationship and acquiring a Pareja de Hecho recognition.
Understanding The Registration Procedure
As observed above, the process differs across regions and cities. The registration process begins at the town hall or Ayuntamiento as it is called here in Spain and starts with the presentation of several documents. Both partners are asked to present their certificates of birth and copies of the same. The reproduction of copies is also necessary for the other documents like the original passports or national identity card, DNI, and NIE for every partner.
Both partners are also required to present the Estado Civil or Certificate of No-Impediment to Marriage document and a copy of the same as proof that the individual is not in a marriage union with another partner. The partners also have to produce a Certificado de Empadronamiento, one is enough to act as proof of residence in a particular local area and that the couple has been living together. There should also be a document of evidence of the relationship of the two.
All these documents have to be written in Spanish hence for applicants who are foreigners; there is need to have their documents translated into Castilian by an official, sworn translator. The costs may vary depending on the fees charged by the interpreter. The translation can be done from the home countries, or they can source out for different avenues to have their documents written in the language.
All the documents are then to be presented with a completed application form; Solicitud de Inscripción. The form is available online via your local Ayuntamiento website and can be printed and filled appropriately. After assembling all the requirements and filling the form, the town hall sends them for processing after which they are mailed back to the applicants. The cost for Pareja de Hecho is currently around €82.00, which can be paid in any bank. Note that prices may vary slightly depending on the region of the country you are in.
The process appears to be simple for Spanish partners because the government has made their documents available online and they are able to print the copies. However, for foreigners, the process is long and expensive, because several conditions put forth can be quite complicated. For instance, when acquiring birth certificates, there is the requirement of a vaulted copy including the legal information of the birthing parents, and the certificates need to be accompanied by an Apostille of the Hague.
In the first instance, always check with your local Ayuntamiento as to the specific requirements to register in your area. Most town halls in Spain have a website and usually publish information on the Pareja de Hecho process and required documentation.
See the following website to find your nearest Ayuntamiento https://www.ayuntamiento.es
Benefits of Pareja de Hecho
Despite the challenges especially for foreign applicants, a common law partnership offers those legally protected by it several benefits. Legally, unmarried partners in Spain do not have any rights over the property or assets of their partners. In the case that one dies or the two separate, the law gives the right to the person having their names registered as the owners.
There is no law that acknowledges the fact that in their staying together, the two contributed to developing the property or asset. With the common law partnership, one gets the legal protection in case of any uncertainties. Furthermore, a cohabiting partner protected by the common law is also entitled to claim the pension of the partner in the event of death, as long as there is proof and the surviving partner has not remarried.
In many regions of Spain, Pareja de Hecho is recognised for inheritance tax purposes in that the surviving partner will be treated as if married and not be hit with a large inheritance tax bill.
Another benefit of Pareja de Hecho for the non-residents of Spain is that one can be able to acquire legal residence. It, therefore, provides an immigrant with an opportunity to obtain legal residency in Spain. The non-residents also get to enjoy several rights and protections that come with their acquisition of residency such as the rights to work because the law gives them a semi-permanent residency for a period of five years.
The ultimate benefit of a Pareja de Hecho is that your love is valued and recognised, you are no longer individuals in the eyes of the law but a sharing and loving team. Allowing you to showcase and confirm your love should be the sole reason for getting involved in the bureaucracy of Pareja de Hecho.
February 16, 2012