A French approach to civil partnerships: le Pacte Civil de Solidarité
PACS was introducted in France by statutory law dated 15 November 1999. Major changes were introducted by law dated 23 June 2006 creating more similarities between PACS and marriage. PACS is defined by Art 515-1 of the French Civil Code, pursuant to which is it a 'contract entered into by two physical persons, of different sexes or of same sex, to organize their common life'.
PACS is contract freely drafted by the relevant partners.
Pursuant to Art 515-7 of the French Civil Code, PACS is dissolved by marriage of one the partners or by the death of one of them, or by a joint declaration of the partners or unilateral decision of one of them.
To enter into a PACS, neither of the partners needs to be a French national, to the extent that they both reside in France at the time of entering into the PACS.
The general trend is to amend the statutory provisions governing PACS to ensure that the effect of a civil partnership is to provide the partners with the same legal status as spouses. Civil partnerships are very much the focus of international and European institutions as the ever increasing mobility created a need for international recognition and harmonisation.
By Charlotte Butruille-Cardew, Avocat à la Cour d'Appel de Paris, REL Law Society England and Wales
This article appeared appears in the November 2012 issue of International Family Law.
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