What Does a Domestic Partner Imply

We are all used to hearing about the figure of the couple in fact and, unconsciously, to liken it to that of marriage. However, between the two there are many differences. Therefore, whether you are thinking of formalizing the relationship you have with your partner through this formula or, simply, have an interest in the matter, here we want to talk about everything that your constitution entails.

What is a domestic partnership?

The de facto couple is, simply, a figure that serves to certify the coexistence of two people of different or equal sex who maintain a sentimental relationship between them but who are not united in marriage. Therefore, we could say that both figures are analogous, but not the same since there are a multitude of differences in terms of their own rights and obligations and against third parties.

The implications of forming a domestic partnership

We must clarify, firstly, that while marriage is regulated by the Civil Code and state Public Administrations, unmarried couples are subject to the regulations in force in each autonomous community. In fact, it is possible to find differences for this reason, even in its denomination.

Now yes, let’s talk about the peculiarities of this formula.

The widow’s pension

Without a doubt, one of the most controversial points within the figure of the couple in fact. And it is that, just as when an accident occurs, the affected person usually uses specialized labor lawyers, when one of the two members of the couple dies, the surviving member frequently consults whether he or she is entitled to it.

The General Social Security Law does provide that the surviving member of a domestic partnership can collect the relevant widow’s pension. Of course, the following requirements must be met:

  • Proof of common-law status: the surviving member must provide a copy of the inscription in the registry of domestic partners of their locality that is at least 2 years old. Likewise, they must certify that they have lived together, at least, for the 5 years prior to death without interruption. For this, rental contracts and mortgage loans are usually the most frequently used documents.
  • Applicant Income – Must demonstrate that your income did not amount to 50% or more of your family income in the past year. The percentage will be 25% in the event that there are children entitled to receive an orphan’s pension. The right to collection is also recognized if your income is 1.5 times the SMI (Minimum Interprofessional Salary) or less.
  • Ability to marry: by this we mean that the Public Administration will also ask the applicant to demonstrate that, during the coexistence, she was not married to another person nor did she have any legal impediment to contracting marriage.

For its part, to calculate the amount of the widow’s pension, it is advisable to also resort to the services of labor lawyers . In fact, this aspect is intrinsic to Labor Law and only a specialist can help you on the matter. They will be responsible for determining which regulatory bases will influence and provide an accurate estimate.

Food provision

Another controversial aspect within unmarried couples. In reference to this, the current legislation specifies that, both during the coexistence and when it comes to an end, neither member is not obliged to provide food to the other. However, it leaves the door open to agree to pay a pension under this concept by private or public agreement.

However, this changes dramatically if there are children in common. In that case, both parents, living together or having dissolved their relationship as a domestic partner, will have the obligation to provide food.

Is there an economic regime within common-law couples?

The answer is no. In fact, within unmarried couples, the economic regimes contemplated by the Civil Code do not apply and are reserved only for marriage. Of course, just as we said regarding the provision of food, both members can reach the agreement they deem appropriate in order to manage and distribute their obligations and assets both during coexistence and when it ceases, if that is the case .

The termination of the domestic partnership: the regulatory agreement

Obviously, the normal thing is that the formalization of a de facto couple is done with the purpose of having children and acquiring obligations and assets. In fact, it is very common. However, in the event of its dissolution, it is necessary to establish what effects the separation will have. This is the reason why, in this case and as with marriage, there is also the figure of the regulatory agreement.

But, what should appear reflected in the agreement regulating the separation of a domestic partner? Well, basically the same as in a marriage. With this we refer to the distribution of expenses, the payment of alimony for the children in common, the use of the family home, etc. Furthermore, just as it happens when a divorce occurs, this regulatory agreement can only be approved by the courts. Therefore, regardless of whether there is an agreement or not, both parties must go through the court. The only thing that will vary is the duration of the process.


As you may have seen, the figure of the couple in fact has its own idiosyncrasy, but it also shares many common features with marriage in terms of rights and obligations, especially when there are children and / or property involved. Therefore, whether it is to find out about the pros and cons of its formation or to get advice about what its dissolution will entail for you, we recommend that you put yourself in the hands of a good lawyer specializing in Civil Law as soon as possible.

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