De facto union in Portugal

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De facto unions in Portugal (União de facto) were introduced for opposite-sex couples in 1 July 1999 and extended to same-sex couples by the act of 11 May 2001.[1]

The current legislation extends to same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples living in a de facto union for more than two years. The law covers housing arrangements, civil servants and work benefits, the option to choose a fiscal regime as married partners, and welfare benefits. Nevertheless, only opposite-sex de facto partners (and opposite-sex married couples) can adopt children together.

There is no registration on the process. Rights can be claimed after a couple lives together for two years. An application of joint tax assessment can be made to prove the union but it is not required.

Also on 11 May 2001, a new multi-person law ("common economy") was also implemented that protects two or more persons that live in common economy with most of the rights of the de facto union, except welfare benefits.

Since December 2006, same-sex couples (and opposite-sex couples) living in a de facto union are also recognized in the same way as married couples for citizenship applications and when a public servant wants to extend healthcare protection to the partner.

Since 2007, a new Penal Code recognizes same-sex couples regarding; domestic violence, murder of partner, refusal do testify in court against the partner and in all other situations where married couples are referred in the code.

In July 2009, the Portuguese assembly, with support of all the parties on the left, approved to extend certain rights enjoyed by married couples, including inheritance rights, to couples in a de facto union.[2] On 24 August 2009, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva vetoed the bill.[3]

Since 5 June 2010, Portugal also recognises same-sex marriage, with de facto unions remaining as an alternative to couples (same-sex or opposite-sex) who do not wish to marry. On 9 July 2010, de facto union expansion law (that includes inheritance rights, compensation and other benefits) passed the Portuguese parliament and on 16 August 2010, President Cavaco Silva ratified the law.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Portuguese) DECRETO N.º 349/X Primeira alteração à Lei n.º 7/2001, de 11 de Maio, que adopta medidas de protecção das uniões de facto
  2. ^ (Portuguese) AR altera lei das uniões de facto
  3. ^ (Portuguese) Veto de Belém acentua fractura entre esquerda e direita
  4. ^ (Portuguese) Cavaco promulga diploma que altera uniões de facto
  5. ^ (Portuguese) Projecto de Lei 280/XI