Homosexual Couples to Have Property Settled Like de Facto Marriages

The Supreme Court will rule whether it is possible to divide up the property of a homosexual couple like it is in a de facto marriage.

If the Supreme Court will agree with the
decision handed down by the Appellate Court homosexual couples will be able to make use of the property rights given to heterosexual de facto marriages.

Currently the law does not provide separate provisions regulating de facto marriages. Instead in de facto situations the law treats the relationship as a general partnership or assigns the couple rights not dissimilar to that of marital status.

Dziennik reports that according to the Prosecutor General if a relationship is not disallowed by the law, there is no legal
impediment standing in the way of treating the property of a couple differently simply because of their sexual orientation. The factual circumstances relate to an
eleven year old homosexual relationship. The two men during the relationship maintained a household together, had a hairdressing business together, maintained that business venture
and invested in property together. The business venture, depending on the period in time, resembled a general partnership or a one-person company. Regardless of its structure
the couple treated the finances within the company equally. A crisis in the relationship resulted in litigation concerning an eviction notice and later
the outstanding payments of tens of thousands of złoty.

The District Court and court of first instance in this matter decided there were no grounds
upon which to determine different principles when settling the property of a homosexual de facto relationship than when settling the property of a de facto heterosexual marriage. The
Court ruled that in such situations the property has to be treated as that of a general partnership. The decision was appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the decision
of the lower court, claiming it was erroneous in applying the Civil Code, although correct in resolving the matter. One of the parties filed for annulment taking the matter to the Supreme
Court claiming among many elements a breach of the Constitution. According to Article 18 of the Constitution and the interpretation of it by the Prosecutor
General, the state’s protection over a marriage of man and a woman does not encompass homosexual couples or heterosexual couples in de facto relationships.

Regardless, previous
decisions handed down indicate that couples who form real and stable relationships where property ownership is equal, property settlements are needed. Establishing whether such
a relationship did in effect take place, the following must be adjudicated: how easy it was for the partners to part, whether there was a real emotional and physical bond taking place,
whether such as relationship is not treated as illegal by the law.

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