Civil union law drafted in Latvia

A Civil Union law has been drafted by the Justice Ministry to ensure that the State ensures legal rights to all families, LSM reported February 2.

The draft law was created following the Constitutional Court's 2020 judgment on the right of a same-sex couple to a parental leave. This week, the Saeima working group for the execution of the ST judgment decided to direct the draft law to the parliamentary Legal Commission for consideration.

In the draft law, the civil union is defined as a notarized agreement between two natural adult persons, which establishes or terminates the material and immaterial rights and duties of the persons.

The draft law ensures that couples in civil unions can become “visible” to the State if they develop mutual relations in accordance with the procedures specified in the draft law, thereby obtaining protection for personal and property rights.

It is planned that the civil union can be concluded by adults in the presence of a notary. Married people or people already in a civil union are prohibited to enter into a civil union. A civil union must not be established between relatives or adopted persons and their guardians. 

A person in a civil union cannot enter into marriage with anyone else. The civil union shall be established without a time limit and shall be in force until its termination.

The civil union shall terminate:

  • with the death of one party to the civil union;
  • with a court declaration of one party to the civil union as dead;
  • with the parties to the civil union entering into marriage;
  • with notarial means;
  • with the court's ruling on the termination of civil union.

In the case of the termination of the civil union by notarial or judicial means, it is also necessary to agree on the sharing of the joint property, the custody of minors, alimony.

The proposed Civil Union Law also provides for a mutual obligation to provide and support each other, to take care of the common household according to the income of each party by entering into a civil union. It is noted that, within the framework of a common household, civil union parties have the same rights.

The annotation states that the draft law contains a minimum framework to enable the civil union to be established at all. Social and economic protection and support measures for individuals, such as tax incentives, rental of residential areas, relief for public officials, as well as issues relating to the prevention of conflict of interest in the activities of officials and others remain unresolved.

This will require changes to the legal system in virtually all sectors. Following the adoption of the law, it will be necessary for each sectoral ministry to review its legislation and to evaluate the need for amendments to provide social and economic protection for couples entering into a civil union.

However, the draft law is likely to encounter strong opposition in Saeima when it comes up for debate.

 

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