The Catalonian City Council government passes the Catalonian Civil Code Second Book bill

6 April 2009

On December 2, 2008, the Generalitat (Catalonian city council) government passed the bill encompassing and modifying existing legislation on personal and family matters in Catalonia.

The second book is composed of 4 titles which regulate individuals (title 1), institutions which protect individuals (title 2), the family (title 3), and other domestic living arrangements (title 4).

The most noteworthy aspects of the new legislation are:

– Common law couples

The Code foresees that couples that have lived together continuously for two years will be considered common law couples, with all consequent legal effects, although their status will not considered equivalent to marriage.

– Matrimonial tax status

The own-assets agreement continues to be the norm. However, property acquired during the life of the marriage which are destined for family use (vehicles, appliances, etc.) are considered communal property of the couples. Likewise, a compensation system has been established (Catalonian compensation) for the spouse who has cared for the home. Said compensation is limited to a quarter of the asset value gain obtained under this tax status.

– Separation of couples

One of most interesting aspects of the Second Book of the Civil Code is that it no longer considers that the separation of the couple automatically supposes that one of the progenitors will lose custody of the children. The standard practice envisaged will be that both spouses retain custody without prejudice to an orderly arrangement in the minor child’s best interest.

– The family home

The Second Book makes significant changes to the rules on assigning the family home in the event of the end of a marriage. The legislation aims to make the rules more flexible in order to accommodate the circumstance of each specific case, eliminating the current automatic assignation based on the granting of custody.

– Principle changes in the articles regarding the individual

Among the most noteworthy changes worth mentioning in the chapters regarding individuals is the new flexibility in adult guardianship, including the incorporation of organisms of prevention and assistance aimed at adults who need someone to take care of them and their properties due to injury, even when they are not fully incapacitated.

A new type of power of attorney has also been introduced which will remain in effect even when the individual is declared incapacitated. The legal authorities, however, can terminate said powers in the interests of protecting an individual.

For further information, please contact Iván Mateo Borge: