Many people choose to live together rather than get married. In many countries there is no difference to your rights whether you are married or cohabiting. However, in some Spanish regions there is little to no recognition of cohabiting status. Is it time to consider getting married in Spain?
Many couples choose to continue a relationship without tying the knot. After all, weddings can be hugely expensive and you can feel that after a time of living together it really isn’t necessary to go through all that fuss and palaver. In many countries there really is no need to make your relationship formal. Laws are constructed in such a way that your rights as a partner are much the same as they would be if you were married. However, this isn’t always the case in Spain.
As with many laws, the status of a cohabiting partner depends on the region in which you live. Some regions do recognise a partner as having similar rights, but for others co-habitation simply isn’t recognised as an alternative. If you currently own property in Spain shared with a co-habiting partner you need to be aware of what the implications might be.
If you live in the Valencian region and are not married then you need to register as a common-law couple (pareja de hecho). If you do not, when it comes to inheritance, for example, you will not even be recognised as being relatives. For the rules in other regions you might look at this information:
The amount of inheritance tax you pay depends upon the level of relationship you have with the deceased. Children and grandchildren are on the first tier and will pay less, if anything at all. As a co-habiting partner you are taxed at the same level as a friend would be. There are other complications that can arise too and might make you consider getting married in Spain.
It’s easier now
If you do decide that you might want to formalise your relationship, the process is now easier than it was a few years ago. The law 15/2015 means that you don’t need to book a church wedding or invest thousands in a grand reception. Although, of course, you can if you want. Now, notaries can fulfil the function if you decide you want to get married in Spain.
Notaries are usually associated with legal activities such as buying a property or making a will. However, they can now conduct marriages in their offices on weekdays and during office hours – with an appointment of course. An even more recent development has simplified the process of getting married in Spain even more. Since April 2021, the notary can also process the marriage file without the need to involve the judge in the Civil Registry.
Tidying up legalities
If you are co-habiting and have shared assets then you may need a matrimonial agreement to clarify who the assets belong to. In Valencia, if this isn’t available then it will be assumed that all the assets are shared between you – the default version. This may not suit your actual situation and your plans for the future. Don’t leave such things to chance.
We can help
If you’ve decided that getting married in Spain is for you and you want to avoid unintended consequences in the future, Ábaco can help you prepare a ‘marriage file’. This includes collection of the necessary documentation, sworn translations and processing your application whether you’ve decided to get married or register as common-law partners (pareja de hecho).
Although we can help identify what documents you need here in Spain, you might also want to check out what documentation you will need to collect for your marriage to be recognised in your home country. You can find out details about this from government sources, for example in the UK:
Of course, we’d hope that legal implications wouldn’t be the only reason for getting married in Spain. Perhaps it’s something you’ve already been thinking about and this article will nudge you just a little. If so, we will be more than happy to assist you with this exciting next stage of your relationship!