De facto union in Portugal

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

On 11 May 2001, a law on economia comum ("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 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.

Establishing and Terminating[edit]

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.

Portuguese de facto unions terminate upon the death or marriage of one of the partners, or upon request of one of the partners.[2]


The law covers housing arrangements, civil servants and work benefits, the option to choose a fiscal regime as married partners, and welfare benefits. Since 1 March, 2016, couples of any sex married or unmarried can adopt children together.[3]

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.[4] On 24 August 2009, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva vetoed the bill.[5]

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.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Portuguese) Law no. 7/2001, from 11 May (specifically Article 1, no. 1).
  2. ^ "Civil Unions and Gay Marriage". Angloinfo Lisbon. Angloinfo. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 
  3. ^ Lei n.º 2/2016 de 29 de fevereiro
  4. ^ (Portuguese) AR altera lei das uniões de facto
  5. ^ (Portuguese) Veto de Belém acentua fractura entre esquerda e direita
  6. ^ (Portuguese) Cavaco promulga diploma que altera uniões de facto
  7. ^ (Portuguese) Projecto de Lei 280/XI