Marriage is a social tradition that has been developing in human civilization for thousands of years. However, nowadays, our legal system also recognizes the union between two people who, although they are not married, have a stable relationship of coexistence and affectivity: the couple in fact.
Although the law protects and closely equates this type of union with marriage, there are significant differences between both modalities.
On the one hand and independently of the type of ceremony that is celebrated, the marriage does not stop being an institutionalized union between two people, and so that it has legal effects you have to register in the Civil Registry.
In the case of the couple in fact, must be registered in the Unions of Couples of Fact Couples, which depends on each Autonomous Community. In order to do so, it is necessary to have lived together for 1 or 2 years in an uninterrupted manner "in a free, public and notorious way". This is evidenced by signed declaration of two witnesses (depending on the regulation of each Autonomous Community) and the registration of at least one of the members in that Community. In addition, a fee must be paid in the aforementioned registry.
In case of breaking off, the spouses can be separated in fact, which occurs when they live separately and independently, without the need for the marriage to have been dissolved. However, for there to be legal effects according to the Civil Code, legal separation or divorce must be processed (by mutual agreement or by request of one of them). This implies an economic cost and a judicial process.
In the case of a religious marriage, is also subject to Civil Law, Canon Law, so that to obtain ecclesiastical nullity and be able to remarry in this way, the process is longer and a number of causes of nullity have to be alleged (cause of impotence , for example). Further, has to be endorsed by the Ecclesiastical Court, while for the civil dissolution it is not necessary to claim any cause.
On the other hand, the de facto couple implies a simpler procedure, they only have to sign their dissolution in the corresponding register.
Being a contract with legal effects, marriage creates by default an economic regime that they can be separation of goods (only the obligation to contribute the two to family burdens and obligations is kept proportional to the situation of each), of acquisitions (obligation to put their material and economic assets in common and respond with them) before any debt of one of them) or make an agreement with another regime.
On the other hand, in the couple in fact, the economic regime is voluntary. They can decide either or none.
In this sense and in case of breakdown of marriage, the judge can decide what is the distribution of assets if there is no common agreement and so requested. It is also responsible for determining if a compensatory pension is necessary.
On the other hand, the legal consequences in case of separation of the couple will depend on the pacts that were made in this regard. The process to determine the compensatory pension for the most disadvantaged couple is more complex, since it depends on the regulation of each community.
The Social Security recognizes a series of licenses paid to both spouses and partners. This is the case of maternity or paternity leave, and permission for serious illness or death of the spouse or partner and family members up to the second degree of consanguinity.
In the case of unemployment pension, the spouse who is left without work has more rights than in the couple, and as for the subsidy for family help, only the marriage can request it (if certain requirements are met), and not the couples.
For its part, the Workers' Statute recognizes 15 days of leave for union of marriage, while it does not contemplate it for the de facto couple, unless the Collective Agreement to which the worker is assigned provides for it.
In the case of death, the surviving spouse receives a widow's pension and is entitled to part of the inheritance.
On the other hand, the couple will not inherit unless it is arranged in a will and respecting the forced heirs. In addition, to be able to collect a pension for death will have to accredit a few requirements: have lived together without interruption for the last five years and not exceed an income limit.
There are no significant differences between the two modes of union in case of having children. These will have the same rights even if the parents are single, based on the principle of equality. Simply the registration of the birth of the child is enough to recognize paternity.
In the case of breaking offIf there is no agreement in the custody, the judge may decide on the same and the visitation regime, as well as on the child support allowance.
The only difference lies in the procedure by which these measures are requested, and the fact that if one of the parents dies and they were not married, the survivor will not inherit by right, only the children.
In relation to the adoption, modifications have been made in the legislation so that a couple can adopt as a couple.
If you want to know more about economic benefits after separations and divorces click here