Sponsored content by ING Luxembourg – Expat Services • Insights •Expat Corner• 19.02.2019
Photo: ING Luxembourg
Saint Valentine’s Day is just past and you and your beloved are perhaps thinking about marriage. But did you know that another form of union exists in Luxembourg since 1994? The civil partnership (PACS) is a legal and less restrictive alternative to marriage and is available for both heterosexual and same-sex couple. But how to proceed and what are the advantages and implications?
Any person legally resident in Luxembourg may register a civil partnership. You and your future partner must be living together and be aged 18 and over at the time of PACS declaration. Of course, you are supposed not to be bound by another marriage or partnership nor related by blood or marriage.
Where and how?
To conclude a civil union, nothing is easier: you just have to make an appointment with the civil registry office of the city of your residence with the required documents. If you are Luxembourg nationals, you only have to provide a valid identity card or passport, a full copy of birth certificate and an affidavit stating that neither of you are related in any way. A template of this affidavit is available at the Town Hall and is generally filled and signed at the time the PACS is registered. If you are not Luxembourg nationals, you have to provide two certificates: one issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office1 and another issued by the appropriate authorities of your country of origin (usually your embassy), stating both that neither of you are already in a civil partnership of any kind.
After having checked that your documents are legally admissible and that you both satisfy the conditions stipulated by the law, the civil registrar records immediately your declaration on paper and send it within 3 days to the Prosecutor’s Office for registration in the Civil Registry. Once it is registered, each of you receives a certificate of registration of partnership.
What are the benefits and obligations?
The PACS has a number of advantages. As partners, you have rights that are, to a large extent, similar to those enjoyed by married couples. You are entitled to the same social security cover and benefits (e.g. the right to a survivor’s pension) as a married couple. After 3 years of partnership, the rates applied on donation and inheritance taxes are the same as for married couples. In tax matters, you can opt for collective taxation according to tax class 2, but only in the year following the conclusion of your civil union.
Declaring a partnership also creates duties and obligations between the partners. You must provide mutual and material assistance to each other. Even after the partnership is dissolved, both of you are liable for any debts you or one of you may have incurred during the partnership for the everyday needs of your household and for expenses related to your shared housing. Each of you owns the property, movable or immovable, that can be proven as belonging to him (or her) alone. Any movable or immovable property whose ownership is not clear is considered under joint ownership.
Are a will and a property settlement agreement useful?
For the will, without any doubt yes. Otherwise, in the event of death of one of you, the surviving partner will not be considered as a legal heir.
A property settlement agreement may be useful if you want to set as you wish the terms of the property relations within your partnership, provided they do not contravene the mandatory rules that apply to all civil partnerships. It may include an inventory statement specifying which items of movable and immovable property are owned individually by each of you and which are owned jointly. No need to go to a notary to establish a property settlement agreement. You only have to ensure that your written agreement is dated and signed. The agreement may be amended at any time, without requiring any other formalities.
Ending a PACS
You may end your partnership at any time by a unilateral or joint declaration before the civil registrar of the commune that the partnership declaration was filed with, or by the marriage or the death of one of you. In the case of a unilateral declaration, the partner ending the partnership must inform the other partner through a bailiff. When the civil partnership is dissolved, the requirement for mutual aid and assistance ceases to apply, unless you have agreed otherwise or a court decides otherwise.
And if you have established a partnership abroad?
You may apply to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to have your partnership registered in the Civil Registry and enjoy the same benefits as partners who have declared their partnership in Luxembourg. Of course, you have to provide with your application some documents such as a certificate of registration of the partnership declaration, a full copy of birth certificate and a copy of the passport or ID card.
If you have any question, the best you can do is to contact the civil registry office of your commune of residence.
1 A form is obtainable by sending a letter to the Cité Judiciaire, Parquet Général, Service du Répertoire civil, L-2080 Luxembourg (+352 47 59 81-341).