Civil Law chapter 5 sp

National law – SP – The Spanish Legal System – chapter 5

Civil Law is focused on the individual person, they intend to guard the rights of the individual (such as house rights, nationality, capacity…). But civil law is also focused on the legal aspects of the concept of family, patrimony, etc. (De Castro Vitores 2004). In Spain, it is regulated by the Civil Code.

Valid marriage and divorce

Types of marriage in Spain

Religious Marriage

The only needed legal procedure to make valid a religious marriage in Spain is to present the ecclesiastic certification with any circumstances required by the law.

In the case of marriages from Islam, Jewish, or the Federation of Evangelic Religious Entities of Spain, it will be necessary to proceed with the papers previous to the process of marriage capability for the two last ones and advisable for the first one.

Once this is done, the marriage will need to be celebrated in a maximum time of 6 months. (Ministerio de Justicia)

Civil Marriage

Civil marriages can be celebrated in different ways:

  • Marriage celebrated before the Registrar of Civil Registration or the Peace Judge. The celebration minutes of civil marriage will be the inscription, which will be signed by the Registrar of Civil Registration, both contractors, both witnesses and the Secretary.
  • Marriage celebrated before the Mayor or Council in which the Mayor delegates: the marriage act will be given to the Civil Registry from the place where the marriage was celebrated, and the Civil Registry will be responsible of doing the inscription.
  • Marriage celebrated in front of a Judge Secretary: it will be included in the minutes and if it is done in front of a Notary it will be considered public writing. It should be signed, apart from the person in front of whom is going to be celebrated, by the contractors and the witnesses. Each one of the contractors will have a copy of the marriage celebration and the Authorizer will forward an authorised copy of the document to the Civil Register to its inscription. (Ministerio de Justicia)

Marriage in another country

Marriages in another country include those marriages in which at least one of the contractors has the Spanish Nationality, even if it is acquired after celebrating the marriage. In order to make these marriages legal it is necessary (Ministerio de Justicia):

  • For canonical marriages:
    • Presentation of the ecclesiastic certificate
    • Birth certificate of the Spanish contractor by the Spanish Civil Register
    • Birth certificate of the foreign contractor
    • National Identification Document of Spanish nationality
    • Accreditation of the place of living of the promotor in Spain
    • Declaration data paper
  • For civil marriages
    • Marriage certificate from the foreign Civil Register
    • Birth certificate of the Spanish contractor by the Spanish Civil Register
    • Birth certificate of the foreign contractor
    • National Identification Document of Spanish nationality
    • Accreditation of the place of living of the promotor in Spain
    • Declaration data paper


One of the most important things to bear in mind regarding divorce is that in Spain it is needed for the marriage to have lasted more than 3 months to get a divorce.

There are two types of divorce:

  • Mutual agreement divorce: this type of divorce is either required by both parts or required by one and agreed by the other.
  • Contentious divorce: required by only one part.

The necessary documentation to formalise the divorce will be:

  • Marriage certificate
  • In case of having children, birth certificate
  • Documents backing the patrimonial situation of the family
  • In case it is a mutual agreement divorce, proposition of regulation agreement between parts, in which it is established the consequences and the agreements after the divorce (use of the house, visit of the children…)

In case of a contentious divorce, there is no regulation agreement and it is not necessary to expose any reason. There is no need of accrediting anything to ask for this type of divorce.

Divorcing in Spain means losing the succession rights, widow’s pension, but it also means a loss of all obligations related to marriage (help, share of food, care…) (UnComo).

Lease Agreements and acquisition of real estate

Lease Agreement

Lease agreements are regulated by the law 29/1994 of Lease Agreement, last modified in 2013.

According to the Spanish law, the amount of time of the lease is agreed between both parts, and the compulsory extension lasts 3 years, which can be increased 1 more if none of the parts says otherwise. In case the owner needs the house for a direct family member or spouse, it can be recovered after a year as long as the tenant is informed 2 months before.

Regarding the leave of the flat, the tenant can do so after 6 months without further explanation as long as it is notified to the owner 1 month before. Both parts can also agree on a condition in which the tenant will pay 1 month per year not accomplished of contract if leaving early, but that depends on the contract.

Bail cannot be increased during the first 3 years of contract but the owner can ask for a raise/ the tenant can ask for a drop, with each prorogation, until arriving to 1 or 2 monthly payments.

When a flat with tenants is sold, if there is a contract appearing in the Property Register, the tenants are allowed to stay as long as the contract says; in case it does not appear, if the new owner decides to not lease the flat, tenants can stay up to 3 months.

Rent payment can be substituted by work done in the house by the tenant; in case is the owner who does the work, if it has been more than 3 years since the beginning of the agreement it is allowed to increase rent.

Talking about defaulting eviction, after one month of default tenants have 10 days to pay before the owner is allowed to take judicial actions for eviction. However, that eviction must always be done through a judicial way.

Finally, it has been created a Registry of lack of payment sentences that owners will be allowed to see (only after accrediting a lease contract proposal with the person of interest). People appearing in the Registry will be allowed to be taken off it once they have paid their debt. (enalquiler 2017)

Tax Obligations

Tax obligations are legally collected on Article 17 from the Tax Obligations General Law, in which it is registered a tax relationship as the “extent of obligations, duties and rights originated from the application of taxes”.


The principal obligation under this law is to pay the corresponding tax quote. Additionally, we find the “taxable event”, which is explained as the budget fixed by law to stablish each tax and whose creation introduces the principal tax obligation.

Accrual is “the moment in which it is understood as done the taxable event and in which it is produced the principal tax obligation”.

Another important point are the exemptions, which shall not be confused with “no subjection”. Both concepts carry the same result, a lack of tax payment. However, they are legally different.

  • Exemptions come from a tax standard with a defined taxable event, which usually originates a tax obligation. However, it exists an exemption norm ordering that the tax obligation is not fulfilled in certain cases, regardless of the taxable event.
  • No subjection implies that taxes under it are not inside any taxable event, which means that the lack of inclusions negatively delimits the taxable event.

It is as well important in tax obligation to make account payments. It is defined as the tax obligation to satisfy an amount to the Tax Agency for the legal person obliged fractionated payments, the retainer or the legal person obliged to make deposits to an account.

The Tax Obligation Law allows each tax’s own laws to stablish different amounts to deduce than the ones fixed from the account payments made.

Finally, we find the obligations between particulars that come from a tax. They are defined as the obligations with a tax nature that can be demanded between tax obligors, considering obligations are generated as a consequence of acts of repercussion, retention or deposit to an account that are legally foreseen. (Fiscal Impuestos)

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