Common law marriage in Spain

There is no “common law” marriage in Spain, that is, a couple may live together for many years as man and wife and have children together, but this establishes no legal rights for either the man or the woman.

If the man dies, the woman has no claim to inherit any share of his property or to collect his pension. In the eyes of the law, there is no legal relationship.  Unless the man formally recognises the children as his own, he is not required to bequeath his property to them.

The law regards these children as offspring of a single mother. Their births must be registered as such and they take their mother’s two last names because she is their only legal parent.

If the unmarried father of the children chooses to leave parts of his estate to his unrecognised children, they will not have the right to apply the lower inheritance tax rate enjoyed by children of married parents, except in some autonomous regions, such as Andalusia.