The law on the contract of “common life” (co-habitation) has finally been passed unanimously by the National Council. From now on, individuals who have chosen to share their life in common, outside of marriage, can enter a life in common agreement (contract de vie commune) governing their respective rights and duties.
This is a clear advance in the recognition of unmarried, heterosexual or homosexual couples. This contract of common life allows common-law unions to benefit from the same rights, whether they are people of the opposite sex or the same sex. But it also concerns families and can therefore be concluded between parents and children or brothers and sisters who would like to establish a community under the same roof.
From now on, common-law couples will thus be able to be protected by the partner’s social security cover in the event of illness, benefit from the co-ownership of a lease or more advantageous inheritance rights in the event of death.
Monaco does not recognize same-sex marriages or unions as equivalent to marriage. However, with this law effective from July 2020, Monaco will now allow same-sex couples to sign a cohabitation agreement (French: “Contrat de vie commune”) which provides rights and obligations.
The Conseil National and the Government managed to bridge their differences by creating two separate texts within the same law, the Conseil National aligning finally with the Government’s reworking the way the text of the bill includes an extension to the family. The two situations – couples and families thus have been separated into two distinct texts within the law.
The text also makes it possible to distinguish common-law from marriage. It was noted that if there are necessarily similarities between marriage and the contract of cohabitation, it is above all because it is a question of organizing a life together.
There was general agreement that this is excellent news for the international image of Monaco, demonstrating that it is a modern state while always respectful of its institutions and values.
The text is deemed innovative and faithful to Monaco’s great equilibrium; it supports the evolutions in society without weakening its principles. It offers rights to the individuals in their diversity and respects traditional institutions, in particular that of marriage.
The principal result is that the rights granted to couples, of the same sex or of different sexes, are real and protect the partner in the most difficult situations in life, (especially illness) via the social insurance of the partner, or at the time of death, by more favourable inheritance taxes or even by the joint ownership of a lease.