Although the civil partnership does not allow the couple to enjoy the same benefits as married spouses, it offers them more protection than people living together.

The civil partnership (PACS) allows two people to organise their life as a couple without getting married. It is a genuine commitment. Partners are required to live together and to fulfil obligations of mutual assistance and support.

The formation of the civil partnership

A civil partnership can be signed at the town hall of the home of the future partners or be formalised by a notary. The partners can choose to draft their own civil partnership agreement that will organise their life together but it is advisable to contact a notary.

In the town hall, the partners will complete a joint declaration of a civil partnership that they will have recorded by a registrar.

The civil partnership will take effect as soon as it is registered. The identity of the partner in the civil partnership is mentioned in the margin of the birth certificate of each member of the couple.

The content of the civil partnership

Since 1 January 2007, the partners find themselves in a situation similar to that of spouses with separate estates. Each retains the enjoyment and administration of their assets. However, the law allows the couple to choose another organisation. The partners can opt for the joint possession regime for assets acquired during their life together.

They also have the option of changing their agreement by drafting an amending legal instrument.
Each partner is jointly and severally liable for the debts contracted by the other, provided that they are related to the maintenance of the household.

Taxation of partners and inheritance

The couple in a civil partnership is subject to joint taxation.

In the event of the death of one of the partners, the other enjoys a temporary right to accommodation for one year in their main residence. They are also exempt from inheritance tax.

The law does not consider the partners as heirs of each other. To establish this right, each must specify it in a will.
The partners are entitled to an allowance of €80,724 in the event of donation.

Termination of the civil partnership

The civil partnership can be ended by either of the partners alone.

The procedure to be carried out depends on the initial place of registration. If the civil partnership was concluded before 1 November 2017, it is necessary to apply to the registrar of the municipality of the place of the registry of the district court which proceeded with registration of the civil partnership. When the civil partnership has been drafted at the notary’s office, either the partners draft a joint declaration of dissolution of the civil partnership, or one of them calls on a bailiff to serve the other and the notary with formal notification of the termination of the civil partnership.

Worth knowing

The partners can easily modify their civil partnership by drafting a modifying agreement which will be transmitted to the civil status department of the town hall.


Reference text

Articles 515-1 et seq. of the French Civil Code.
Law no. 2016-1547 of 18 November 2016 to modernise justice of the 21st century