Civil Union (Solidarity civil pact - PACS)

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Civil union (civil solidarity pact) is a contract entered into by two adult natural persons, of different sex or of the same sex, unmarried, which allows them to plan their life together.

It cannot be concluded between ascendant and descendant, between allies in direct line and between collaterals up to the third degree included. Nor between two people, at least one of whom is involved in the bonds of marriage or who is already in a Civil Union.


How to carry out a civil union?

The civil union was created in 1999. Registration of Civil union, established between the partners (carried out through private signature) takes place at the town hall. Of course, the partners may prefer that their civil union be drafted by a notary. This is how they can benefit from the advice of an expert professional and are certain that the clauses of their contract are adapted to their family and financial situation.

Note: the civil registrar does not maintain a copy of the agreement, unlike the notary who keeps the 75-year-old paper original in its office or sends the electronic original to the Central Electronic Minutier of French Notaries (MICEN). Thus, in the case of loss or destruction, the parties can always ask for a copy from the latter. The Civil Union takes effect between the parties as of its registration; it is enforceable against third parties from the day the publication formalities have been completed.

The mention of the Civil Union, as well as its dissolution, is made in the margin of the birth certificate of each of the partners and indicates the identity of the other partner.

Rights and obligations of Civil Union partners

Obligations of partners towards one another

  • The partners commit to live together.
  • They have a duty of material aid and a duty of reciprocal assistance. Thus, they are jointly and severally liable with regard to third parties for the debts contracted by one of them for the needs of everyday life. On the other hand, solidarity does not apply to excessive debts and loans unless the amounts are modest and necessary for the requirements of everyday life and the cumulative amount of these amounts, in the event of multiple loans, is not manifestly excessive in relation to the standard of living of the household.
  • Each one is responsible for their personal debts.

Rights of the civil union partners

  • In terms of assets 
    The legal regime is the separation of assets. However, by an express mention within their agreement, the partners can opt for the regime of joint ownership. In this case, the goods are undivided by half, even if one of the partners finances them beyond his share of ownership. No appeal is possible. Each partner can manage the assets of the joint ownership. Everyone retains the administration, enjoyment and free disposal of their personal property.


  • In terms of donation

Partners who wish to make donations (during their lifetime) benefit from an allowance of €80,724.

  • In terms of inheritance

In the event of death, the surviving partner can stay free of charge for one year in the accommodation which was the couple's main residence (even if the deceased was the sole owner).

Note: the partners are not heirs of each other. To become one, each one must make a will to this effect. The Civil union agreement is not the place to state your wishes in matters of succession.

For tax purposes, the partner is exempt from inheritance tax.

  • In terms of life insurance

The sums from a life insurance contract, paid to a surviving Civil union partner, on the death of his companion, are exempt from inheritance tax. However be careful of manifestly exaggerated premiums in the presence of compulsory heirs.

  • In terms of social rights

The social security death benefit can be paid under certain conditions in regard to the Civil union partner (articles R. 361-3 and following of the Social Security Code).

The conclusion of a Civil union does not entitle you to a survivor's pension from the general social security scheme.

End of Civil union

  • Through the death or marriage of one of the partners; 
  • Through joint declaration of the partners, which they send to the registrar or notary.
  • Through a unilateral decision of one of them. The partner who decides to put an end to the Civil union has it notified (by bailiff) to the other. A copy is sent to the registrar or notary.

The civil registrar of the place of registration of the Civil Union or the notary who established it, registers the dissolution, and carries out the publishing formalities.
The dissolution of the civil solidarity pact takes effect, in the relations between the partners, on the date of its registration. It is enforceable against third parties from the day the publication formalities have been completed.
The partners must agree to share their property. Failing this, the family court judge will be competent to settle their disagreements.