A registered partnership is a legal relationship between two persons of the same sex in the Czech Republic, while only a woman and a man can enter into marriage. The difference between these is not just in the terminology, registered partners do not have the same rights as a married couple. In addition to that, there are also differences in the legal procedure, such as the requirements for witnesses or the ceremony itself, in this article, we will focus on the rights of registered partners and a married couple.
1. Children and Adoption
Adoption of children is one of the areas where the differences between marriage and registered partnership are the biggest. While married couples can adopt a child together, registered partners cannot. The only way how registered partners can adopt a child is that just one of them adopts the child and therefore becomes the child´s legal parent. However, the second partner cannot become the child´s legal parent even though he takes care of the child and acts like his legal parent. This can be a problem both in everyday matters such as picking up the child from school, but also in the case of annulment of the registered partnership, where the second (not legal) parent has no obligation towards the child including alimony. The adoption of the other partner´s child works exactly the same – the husband/wife can adopt the other spouse´s child, but that is not possible for registered partners.
2. Maintenance obligation
One of the common features of marriage and registered partnership is a mutual maintenance obligation because in both cases there is a maintenance obligation between the partners.
3. Health information
The right to have information about the health status of the other partner have both married couples and registered partners. Therefore, if one of the partners is in the hospital, the other has the right to be informed about his health state, without any additional conditions.
4. Community property
Unless the married couple decides to sign a prenuptial agreement, the community property (in Czech it is usually referred to as „SJM“ which stands for „společné jmění manželů“) will be created by entering into marriage. This does not apply to registered partners, there is the same regime as for unmarried partners – the property is either in the exclusive ownership of one partner, or they have some part of the property in joint ownership. Since there is no legal procedure for the settlement of property in case of dissolution of the registered partnership, the partners have to make an agreement or go to court.
Debt liability is also related to community property. Spouses are equally responsible for debts incurred during the marriage, meanwhile registered partners are not responsible for the other´s debts.
Another important property matter is inheritance. In this case, not only spouses but also registered partners inherit from each other by law. This means that spouses and registered partners inherit from each other without having to state it in the will. Despite some similar rights of a married couple and registered partners, these are (according to current law) not equal unions.
Registered partners still do have much fewer rights than married couples.