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.

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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.

Need help understanding the taxation system?

Download the FREE Guide to Taxes for Non-Residents in Spain, written by Raquel Perez, owner of Perez Legal.

Are you buying a property?


Then you need to know the process. Download the FREE Guideline Procedure for Purchasing a Property.

Confused with the legalities of buying a home?

Download the FREE Spain Legal Buying Guide, written by Raquel Perez, owner of Perez Legal Group.

Selling your property?


Get an overview of what is involved by downloading the FREE Guide to Selling Your Spanish Property Legally.

Do you need help planning for the future?

Find out more information on the inheritance system here in Spain by downloading the FREE Inheritance Services book.

Do you pay taxes?


Download the 2019 Tax Payer´s Calendar to find the dates you need to submit your tax declarations.


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