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The Court of Cassation recently reaffirmed that unlike a spouse or a person bound by a civil solidarity pact (PACS), a cohabiting partner is not required to repay a debt contracted by his partner if he has not – even signed the contract. This decision was prompted by a specific case where a partner obtained a loan from a credit company, resulting in unpaid bills and subsequent legal action against the two cohabitants. Initially, the High Court ordered the joint and several repayment of the debt, but this decision was canceled by the Court of Cassation. According to the court, a partner cannot be held responsible for the repayment of a debt contracted solely by the other, even if he had knowledge of the engagement and had benefited from it .
Liability for debt: differential treatment of cohabitants: –
Legal perspectives This principle is firmly anchored in case law, the provisions of the Civil Code relating to the solidarity of spouses in matters of debts related to the maintenance of the household or the education of children not applying to cohabitants. If a spouse independently enters into a contract for the maintenance of the household or the upbringing of children, his spouse automatically becomes liable and may be required to assume the entire debt. Similarly, in the case of a PACS, a debt contracted by one of the partners for current needs will automatically bind the other partner .
Legal Implications: Understanding Debt Liabilities in Different Types of Relationships:-
This legal distinction highlights the disparity in indebtedness between cohabitants and people in formalized couples such as marriage or PACS. While married couples and PACS partners may be jointly and severally liable for certain types of debts, cohabitants retain individual financial responsibility unless they have explicitly consented and signed the corresponding contracts. It highlights the importance of understanding the legal implications and financial risks associated with different types of relationships and debt securities.
It is crucial that people in cohabitation are aware of their rights and obligations, seeking legal advice if necessary to ensure clarity and protect their financial interests. Understanding the distinctions between different legal frameworks can help cohabitants make informed decisions and overcome potential debt challenges.