Debts in my partner in fact: do they affect me?

Planning and organizing a life as a couple is not always easy, since it depends on many factors, both internal and external. That is why we must have the greatest number of information if it is going to be formalized legally. That is why in this article we will talk about the de facto couple and all that this entails, from the documents to contribute to request it, to the rights that are in said regime, legal and financial obligations or differences with respect to another type of union between couples like the matrimonial, among other aspects. See

De facto couple, definition

De facto couple, definition

A common-law partner is one who, regardless of sexual orientation, decides to live in a stable manner in a romantic relationship. In a clearer way, it would be like a marriage, but with some variations in terms of the rights and obligations of the interested parties. Among these differences, unlike marriage, this variant is not included in the Spanish Constitution. In recent years the number of couples who prefer to start these procedures has increased, instead of going through the altar or the civil registry to be a husband and wife. For what has led to administrations and the different autonomous communities to be profiling the different points, and further profiling their conditions, in favor of the citizen.

In the following points we will explain everything you need to know to be able to carry out the procedures to request to be a de facto couple, as well as the differences and similarities that exist with the spouse.

Procedures and documents to be a de facto couple

Procedures and documents to be a de facto couple

Where should we formalize it?

Each autonomous community is governed by a different regulation regarding this regime to formalize a relationship and coexistence. So we recommend that for a more personalized consultation according to the place of residence, it is better that you contact a professional in these matters that will solve all your doubts and guide you well on what to do about it, as well as the obligations and rights corresponding to the Be a domestic partner.

For the realization of this article we have consulted different administrative sources, but the one that best explains everything is that of the Junta de Andalucía. So we will have it as an example to develop this information, but as we say in each community there is a different regulation. We will only take the Andalusian as an orientation point.

For the officialization of a de facto couple, he tells us on his official website, that you have to register in the Register of De facto Couples of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, as this example would be. Being able to perform this bureaucratic action in the Territorial Delegations of the Ministry of Equality and Social Policies or in the City Council corresponding to the town where they reside, that is, where both or one of the members of the couple is registered. As indicated in Law 5/2002, of December 16, on Couples, in its art. 5.2, its constitution must be made with the “ personal appearance of both interested parties before the head of the body in charge of the corresponding Registry ”.

It can also be formalized before a notary.

What requirements should we meet?

What requirements should we meet?

As in order to join a couple in marriage, the request for a partner in fact carries with it an attached bureaucracy. Before beginning any procedure you should consult in Law 5/2002, of December 16, on Couples, as well as in Decree 35/2005, of February 15, where its regulations are collected, and in it you can look if the requirements for such formality are met. In art. 5, of the latter more specifically, everything is indicated. To prove that all the requirements are effectively met, a series of documents must be presented that attest to this. Next we indicate them:

  • Personal identification.
  • Civil status.
  • Be of age or emancipated minors.
  • Not be legally incapacitated.
  • Not to be united in marriage, in a stable couple not married to another person, or to be registered as a de facto couple previously in any Registry, without a previous withdrawal.
  • Not be relatives in direct line by consanguinity or by adoption in second grade.
  • Have the habitual residence in a municipality of the Community where it is requested.
  • Obviously declare the will to want to be a common-law partner

What documents are needed?

Once you know where to formalize this process and if we meet the requirements, you must know what documents will be necessary for the registration to be effective. You must go to the Territorial Delegation of the Ministry of Equality and Social Policies, or the City Council with the completed application. This can be downloaded from the website of the Junta de Andalucía, remember that we have taken this community as an example, obviously this can be done on the websites of the corresponding to your place of residence.

The following documents must be added to this request:

  1. Copy of the identification documents of people requesting to be a common-law partner (such as ID, Passport, residence card or equivalent).
  2. Municipal register updated. Its date of issue cannot exceed 3 months to the date on which the application will be submitted to the Registry.
  3. Civil Registry Certificate attesting to the emancipation of both members.
  4. Certificate proving the marital status of both applicants, since as we have indicated above they cannot be married or within this formality, without an official separation. This certificate will be the original, and the date of issue must not exceed 6 months prior to the date of submission of the application. This is reflected in art. 252 of the Civil Registry Regulations. The following must be presented: Certification of birth and faith of life and status (singleness, divorce or widowhood). And in case of divorce or widowhood by any of the applicants must be accredited as follows: Divorced: Marriage certification with marginal registration of divorce or annulment. Widowers: Certification of marriage and death certificate of the deceased spouse.
  5. Declaration of not being relatives of direct line, neither by adoption nor by consanguinity of second degree.
  6. Statement of not being unable to give consent.
  7. Declaration of not being registered as a common-law partner in any other Registry.
  8. Declaration of not forming a stable or married couple by another person.
  9. Public deed or medium that proves the willingness of both parties to want to form a common-law couple.

How much does it cost to apply to be a domestic partnership?

This process has an economic expense that we detail below. This writing does not have a fixed price, so you have to add some variables to get its specific price. Part of a minimum amount of 36.06 euros set by the Government in the law regulating the notarial fee. The total price will vary according to the length of the document.

  • To that minimum amount must be added 6.01 euros for each folio, from the fifth.
  • The original copy is kept by the notary, so that the interested party will have a supplement of 3.05 euros per sheet, and from number 12, will be 1.50 euros.
  • The simple copy, which will also be delivered to those interested, will be priced at 0.60 euros per sheet.
  • If it is necessary to move the notary, 18 euros/hour must be added.
  • Apart from this, the stamp paper, 0.15 euros per page and the Hague Apostille must be added outside the notarial fee. 14.97 euros, if it is a normal procedure, and 29.94 euros, if urgent. Although the latter is optional, if both interested parties want to give international recognition to the union in a specific country.
  • In addition, the corresponding 21% VAT must be added to the added value.

Main reasons to be a de facto couple

As we said at the beginning of this article, if you are thinking about formalizing your relationship, you should keep in mind all the variants, as well as their pros and cons, since relationships between people can sometimes become somewhat complicated. In addition, we must take into account what is sought in this official union. That is why we are going to expose the similarities and differences between being a common-law couple and being spouses.

Similarities between both regimes

The similarities are found in relation to 3 important aspects:

  • Children. Both de facto couples and marriages have the same rights and obligations with respect to their children. When a separation is carried out in both regimes, the same steps are followed, both with regard to the legal measures to be taken, such as child custody and custody, alimony or visitation, as well as inheritance rights.. These rights are protected in all communities.
  • Death without a will. In the event that both members of the couple have not disposed of a will in their lifetime with their last wishes, the rights are equated both in de facto couple and in marriage. Although we must bear in mind that this only currently occurs in the communities of Aragon, the Basque Country, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia or Navarra.
  • Widow’s pension. The de facto couple has the right to request a widow’s pension in the event of the death of the other member of the couple, but must prove a coexistence for a previous period of 5 years and that the income of the survivor does not exceed a limit stipulated by Social Security.

Difference between both regimes

The differences are found in 4 aspects: 

  • Work permit. Unlike when there is a marriage union, when formalizing the sentimental situation as a couple, in fact, the worker does not have a vacation period. Currently the Statute of Workers does not collect it. Unless the Collective Agreement of the interested party does.
  • Compensatory pension In the case of dissolution of the couple, this aspect is only contemplated and regulated in the autonomous communities of Aragon, Basque Country, Navarra, Cantabria, Balearic Islands and Catalonia. In those that are not yet it is necessary to resort through the judicial route, and to determine a judge if a pension corresponds or not for who requests it.
  • Personal Income Tax and Finance. Unlike in the marital regime, de facto couples do not have the right to pay taxes jointly in the income tax declaration.
  • Economic regime. Entrance to a domestic partnership is not applied any economic system, nor the marital nor separate property, as happens in a marriage. It is the couple’s job to agree on which regime they want to formalize their relationship and register it in the registry.

Although as we have said several times, all this will depend on the autonomous community in which you reside, so we always recommend consulting with a professional who resolves all doubts about it.

How can a de facto partner be undone?

The de facto couple can officially break up as marriage. But unlike the latter case, the extinction of the couple is in fact much faster and easier, since it does not need courts or notaries involved. In addition, the criterion for formalizing this relationship is more open in terms of the options to be claimed:

  • A common agreement between the interested parties that must be formalized before a notary in a public deed.
  • The death of one of the members of the couple.
  • The marriage of either.
  • By cessation in the coexistence of the family community.
  • Decision taken unilaterally, provided it is notified to the other party.

In case of termination of the de facto couple, which has been previously formalized either by a notary or by registration in the Registry of Couples, it is mandatory for this to be recorded and there is no problem in the future with this situation, that both (together or separately) come to formalize this decision.

Types of regime in de facto couples

Types of regime in de facto couples

As we have said before, when two people decide to formalize their relationship as a common-law couple, they must agree before a notary, in a public deed, in which economic regime they will want to live, and also with a view to a possible break. It is a complicated decision to make, but in which you have to think in the long term, since when there is a cessation in living together it will be easier to manage everything.


Couples who decide to agree on a community of property (community of property) will be subject to the following guidelines:

  • Assets acquired. As usual in this regime, any of the two parties that acquire any type of good during living together will be declared as common. So in case of breakdown this will be divided in half or the value it has, for each of the interested parties.
  • Living place. In the event that the housing of the couple has been acquired by one of its members, the latter may not carry out any provision on it without the prior consent of the other party. This will be the case while living together.
  • Foods. It is mandatory that during the couple’s cohabitation food be provided between them.
  • Goods of both. These will be subject to family burdens that weigh on them.
  • Economic compensation. At the end of living together, one of the members of the couple can request a compensatory pension in the case of having dedicated their work to the family community and home care during that period.

If there is no agreement when the de facto relationship is formalized, the rights to each of the assets of which the couple’s assets are formed must be accredited with documents.

Separation of Property

It is the economic regime that is most booming today, perhaps because it is the one that best suits the lives of couples today. It has had a lot to do with the incorporation into the working world of women.

  • Patrimonial effects. In the separation of assets, the assets that each member of the couple has acquired prior to the union and/or subsequent to it, in the case of signing this option, are recognized as individual. Each manages, manages and disposes of its assets independently. Only they belong to both those property acquired jointly.
  • Dependents. As for how to sustain family burdens, it is established that each of the interested parties has the obligation to participate proportionally to the household, in the economic aspect, to their economic capacity.
  • In case of separation. As there is no equity in common, there is no need to liquidate them, which makes the process more comfortable and easier. Only those acquired jointly and in the percentage previously agreed upon must be settled.

Debts in my de facto partner

Debts in my de facto partner

One of the doubts that arise before a union is whether, when this is formalized, the debts previously contracted by one of the parties will affect the other person. The truth is that it does not affect, because unlike in the case of marriage, there is no economic regime in the couple, as we explained above, so if there is no declaration before a notary that indicates how to manage the contracted assets of that union, it will be governed as an absolute separation of goods. Therefore, the assets and/or responsibilities generated by one part of the couple will not affect the other.

The same happens with the goods received through an inheritance, which are always private. If governed by this regime, it will be used exclusively by the beneficiary. And the same goes for debts.

Even so, each case should be studied individually, since several factors have to be taken into account, such as a company, participation in said activity, etc.


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