Duties Arising Out of Marriage & Civil Unions

In marriage and civil unions spouses have equal rights and assume equal responsibilities. The law provides that spouses owe each other fidelity and moral and material support. Both parties are bound to contribute to the needs of the family according to their means and capabilities (Article 3, Civil Code).

Parents have a duty to look after, maintain, instruct and educate their children.

Although the law does not define what the essential obligations of marriage, case law has established that spouses owe each other the support in raising a family, community life, love and mutual well-being.

The courts will enquire whether one of the spouses is to blame for the marriage breakdown and in particular whether he or she failed to fulfil any of the said duties. In case of separation this helps the court in deciding which party should get the matrimonial home, fix the quantum of maintenance that is to be paid periodically, how the community of acquests will be divided and whether one of the spouses should forfeit certain rights since the marriage breakdown was due to his or her fault.