Posted on: 2021-05-11 Posted by: WebEditor Comments: 0

In Spain, marriage and civil union both hold legal status but they have their differences when it comes to legal matters. In a nutshell, marriage is more legally binding than the civil union and comes with its pros and cons. Here, we will see the main difference between these two legal unions between two individuals.

Difference in regulations

As mentioned, marriages and Pareja de Hecho- civil union have the backing of the law but there are major regulation differences between them. The Spanish Civil Code controls the marriage laws whereas the civil unions are regulated according to the regions. For example, the Catalonia Civil Code regulates the matters of the civil union of those living in Barcelona or Catalonia, but not of those who are in Madrid.

Ease of legal processes

Getting into a civil union is easier and faster when it comes to legal matters, applications, and regulations. When you register as a civil union in Spain, all the procedures concerned could be done faster than the marriage application. The same is the case when there is a separation. You will encounter fewer legal matters with a civil union than with a divorce.

That is why, if for example you are about to obtain your residency in the country through your EU partner, things will be faster if you go for the civil union path instead of marrying. The legal application is easier and less tedious.

Money matters

Partners indulging in a marriage share their money as the default unless otherwise specified on a legal document such as a prenup document. But for a civil union, there is no obligation to share their money and neither is there any need to split the money or compensate the partner in case of a breakup. In this case, compensation happens only if there is any kind of legal agreement between the partners. So in a civil union, it is always advised to keep separate bank accounts for the people involved.


In the unfortunate incident of the death of a partner, the other member in the relationship is legally entitled to a widower’s pension in a marriage. But in a civil union, there is no entitlement. The pension or any kind of compensation would happen only if there is a legal document specifying the same or through a will. A widower’s pension may be possible only if the surviving partner can show proof of their living together for the last five years or so and that there is no income over a particular amount of money.


The legal rights of kids out of the relationship, in either case, are more or less the same. The only difference here is that, when a partner dies, it would be the children who inherit the money in case of the civil union. Here, unless there is a legal agreement for the same, the children are the default beneficiary. For the married couples, the surviving partner inherits the money.

Tax filing

When it comes to tax filing, married couples can do a joint tax filing which will help them save more money. But they are not obligated to do so. They can file their returns separately if that is what they want. On the other hand, the members of a civil union, the partners do not have this luxury. They have to file their tax returns separately.

Bottom Line

Whether you want to enter into a marriage or want to stay in a civil union is a completely personal decision. Here is a simple attempt to enlighten you about the difference in the legal entities and rights of each of these unions. Either of these options is perfect. What matters more is how two persons can live together happily and peacefully. The bottom line is that both of these unions have the backing of the law but in two different manners.


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