Civil solidarity contracts

The Principality of Monaco now recognizes civil solidarity contracts and allows people sharing a common life project to conclude such a contract in order to govern their respective rights and duties.

On December 4, 2019, the National Council unanimously voted for the adoption of Law No. 1.481 of December 17, 2019 relating to civil solidarity contracts.

This Law, published on December 27, 2019 in the Official Journal of Monaco, will come into full force on June 27, 2020 (art. 70).

It transforms the landscape of Monegasque family law by legally recognizing a social reality, namely the factual situation in which people share a project of common life without being bound by an institution such as marriage.

The conclusion of a civil solidarity contract may be considered in two situations:

  • when two adult individuals (« the partners »), live in a de facto relationship (union libre) (this is known as a « joint living contract »); note that this route is equally open to same-sex or different-sex partners and incapable adults;
  • when two adult members of the same family (« the cohabitants ») live in the form of cohabitation (we speak here of « cohabitation contract »); note that the law does not define the degrees of kinship envisaged.

These two new forms of engagement remain, however, limited to the property aspects: the Law thus reviews the effects common to the two forms of the civil contract of solidarity (in social, penal matters and criminal procedure, civil and civil procedure, work, housing and health) and those specific to the common life contract (in criminal matters, housing, work, tax, social security and employment benefits).

In our view, the cohabitation contract has the merit of going beyond the sole legal obligation that is imposed between members of the same family, and of assigning legal value to natural family obligations.

In addition, the joint living contract opens the way for legal recognition of the situation of homosexual couples. However, marriage remains the fundamental structure of the couple, allowing them to take full advantage of both family dimensions (filiation, parental authority, rights of the child) and inheritance (heir status). For this purpose, partners of the opposite sex can always decide to marry.

In any event, although it is based on an act in authentic form which must be registered with the general registry, the civil contract of solidarity is not irreversible and may be terminated, either voluntarily by a joint or unilateral declaration contracting parties, either as of right by marriage or death.

January 2020