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Legal differences between marriage and stable partnership according to Catalan legislation.

This article does not pretend that people get married or formalize their relationship by means of a deed of constitution of a stable couple, but simply to highlight two existing differences in the regulations applicable here in Catalonia which is the Codi Civil de Catalunya.

In this way, the object of this article is a small approximation to the legislative differences that occur in Catalonia between marriage and the stable couple at the moment of the rupture of the relationship.

Currently, the Codi Civil de Catalunya regulates both marriage and the stable couple.

Marriage is regulated in chapters I, II and III of Title III of Book II of the Civil Code of Catalonia. Chapter IV of the same title refers to the stable couple.

From the regulation of the stable couple comes the remission in certain matters to the regulation foreseen for marriage.

Hence, for example, the stable couple, as in the case of marriage, the provisions regarding the disposition of the family home are applicable, since the members of the stable couple or the spouses who own said home cannot sell or tax the home without the consent of the other.

The same applies to the stable couple as to marriages in respect of onerous acquisitions with a survival pact, by virtue of which it may be agreed that when a joint property is acquired, it will pass in its entirety to the survivor in the event of the death of the other.

In the event of a break-up of the stable couple, the Codi Civil de Catalunya also refers to the articles relating to the break-up of the marriage (separation and divorce) and so the articles relating to the pacts in anticipation of the break-up of the marriage or those relating to the custody of the children are applicable to the stable couple.

However, there are two questions that do not apply to stable couples and which are developed below.

These two questions relate to the attribution of the use of the dwelling and possible compensation in the event of a breakdown.

As for the first of these questions, the attribution of the use of the family home, in the case of marriage, the Codi Civil de Catalunya, establishes the possibility for the judicial authority to attribute the use of the home and family trousseau to the most needy spouse despite the fact that there are no children or that they are economically independent.

On the contrary, in the case of stable couples this possibility does not exist, so that only the use of the dwelling and family trousseau can be attributed to the member of the stable couple who is responsible for the custody of the children and, if the custody is shared between the parents, to the one who has the greatest need.

This means that in the event that the stable couple does not have children or these are economically independent, the law does not empower the judge to attribute the use of the dwelling to the most needy spouse, this being the exclusive possibility of marriage.

With regard to compensation for the break-up of a marriage, the spouse whose economic situation is most affected by the separation or divorce has the right to request two types of compensation: the compensatory benefit and the economic compensation for work.

The first of these compensations is intended to compensate the spouse who is in the worst economic situation at the right moment of the break-up, thus helping him or her to reorganize his or her life after the divorce.

The second aims to compensate for the imbalance in assets between the spouses when one of them has worked considerably more than the other at home or for the family.

In the case of the stable couple and in accordance with the Codi Civil de Catalunya only the second of these compensations can be requested, as long as the legal requirements for it are fulfilled and there is a difference between the patrimonies of the couple.

Este artículo está disponible en: Castellano Català