José and Manuela were never able to legally formalize their marriage, due to a problem with his birth certificate – born in Germany – but for all his friends and family, who went to the celebration of a symbolic wedding, and for all practical purposes, they were married. This is now recognized by a sentence of the Social Court number 17 of Valencia that condemns the National Institute of Social Security to pay the corresponding widow’s pension to the couple of the deceased in June 2020.
Despite not being legally married or not listed as a common-law partner, a circumstance for which the Social Security refused to pay the widowhood benefit to this Valencian, the plaintiff has proven by means of a registration certificate that they both lived at the same address since September 2015. Therefore, they would be missing three months to reach five years of uninterrupted relationship analogous to the conjugal one required by the regulations on the recognition of pensions.
However, the judge considers that we are facing “an exceptional situation”, in which it has been proven that the couple “had initiated a marriage file and due to a formal defect they were unable to complete it definitively, but they did have a fictitious wedding with a banquet and honeymoon“.
Furthermore, according to the report of a private detective, the couple already had a relationship in 2013 and are registered in the same house in Almussafes since September 2015. “Although they had three months left to fulfill the requirement of five years of uninterrupted coexistence, This judge understands that the almost five years of accredited coexistence, plus the report of the detective that proves that they were a couple since 2013, and above all, the celebration of the wedding, with a banquet and honeymoon, it must be considered that we are facing an exceptional situation“, argues the ruling.
As has been proven, on June 19, 2018 Manuela and José initiated the marriage file before the Almussafes peace court. Thus, the couple set a date for the wedding and hired a honeymoon to Kenya and Tanzania. When the expected day arrived, the birth certificate of the husband, a native of Germany, did not arrive in time. That was not an impediment to go ahead and celebrate the banquet with the guests after a ceremony without legal validity and later enjoy the honeymoon.
The death on June 20, 2020 of José, in the middle of a pandemic but for reasons beyond the coronavirus, truncated his plans to formalize his marriage and when his partner requested the widow’s pension, Social Security rejected said request through a resolution issued in October of that same year arguing that they were not formally constituted as a de facto couple. In a subsequent claim, the INSS management also dismissed the woman’s claim.
The plaintiff, represented by the lawyer Isabel Andrés, from the Monzó & Andrés law firm, has finally managed to get a social court in Valencia to recognize her right to collect the widow’s pension despite not being a common-law partner or being married.
“Due to fate’s misfortunes, José died before their union was legally formalized,” clarifies the sentence, which bases its decision on the “testimony practiced in the trial,” which unquestionably proved the celebration of the banquet and the existence of a relationship between the plaintiff and the deceased, witnesses to whom he grants “full veracity, since his account is consistent and coincides with the data contained in the documentary evidence contributed by the parties “.
In addition, the judge indicates that “there is no element that allows us to think that there is the purpose of artificially generating a right to the widow’s pension”, and taking into consideration the celebration of the banquet and the honeymoon, together with the almost five years of coexistence accredited by proof of registration, “it must be considered that there was a common-law partner in order to grant the right to the widow’s pension.” His safari to Kenya has finally served as evidence to the widow to be able to collect the benefit with a regulatory base of 1,210 euros.