Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Civil Covenant of Solidarity Definition:

A contract by two individuals of the age of majority, of different or same gender, to provide legal rights and obligations as a result of their cohabitation.

The development of the civil law has been inconsistent. While resisting granting to same-sex partners access to the legal institution of marriage, there has been only incremental recognition of loving, long-term cohabitation relationships between two persons of same sex.

While Quebec introduced its civil union concept, France has brought out a similar and differently named civil covenant of solidarity (pacte civil de solidarité).

In both cases, the law is not nominally directed at same-sex relationships but appears to be available to any two persons who wish some formality to their marriage-like relationship, without the marriage itself.

The 2009 official English version of the Civil Code of France, at §515-1:

"A civil covenant of solidarity is a contract entered into by two natural persons of age, of different sexes or of a same sex, to organize their common life.

"On pain of nullity, there may not be a civil covenant of solidarity (1) between ascendants and descendants in direct line, between relatives by marriage in direct line and between collaterals until the third degree inclusive; (2) between two persons of whom one at least is bound by the bonds of marriage; (or) (3) between two persons of whom one at least is already bound by a civil covenant of solidarity.

"Two persons who enter into a civil covenant of solidarity shall make a joint declaration of it at the court office of the tribunal d'instance under the jurisdiction of which they fix their common residence. On pain of dismissal, they shall file with the clerk the agreement concluded....

"Partners bound by a civil covenant of solidarity shall provide mutual material and moral aid to each other. The terms of that aid shall be fixed by the covenant. Partners shall be jointly and severally liable with regard to third parties for debts incurred by one of them for the needs of everyday life and for expenses relating to the common lodging."

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