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Legal Regulation of the Same-Sex Partnership in Croatia

2021.05.31. @ 12:00 - 14:00

Prof. Dr. Sc. Aleksandra Korać Graovac
Faculty of Law in Zagreb, University in Zagreb


The lecture presents the legal regulation of the same-sex unions in Croatia from 2003 to the present days. In 2003, the Act on Life Unions of Persons of the Same-Sex recognized narrow legal effects: mutual maintenance and property relationships, similar to the regulation of the extra-marital unions.

In the beginning of 2014, after the first citizens referendum, the heterosexuality principle of marriage was introduced into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia. Following constitutional ban on homosexual marriage, left-wing government enacted The Life Partnership Act. It introduced registered and unregistered partnership, both almost entirely equated to marriage in private as well in public law.

Life partners who wish to register their partnership do not have to be Croatian citizens, and Croatian citizens who have entered into the same-sex marriage abroad have right that their marriage is registered as same-sex partnership.

In relation to the right to found a family, life partners are not allowed to be beneficiaries of medical assisted procreation and are not allowed to adopt a child together under the provisions of the Family Act. Nevertheless, the Act on the Same-Sex Partnership allows the life partner of the biological parent, i.e. the adoptive parent of the child, to exercise parental responsibility of the child of his/her partner’s child or to be entitled to “partner care”. Both institutes have to be based on a court decision. The first institute opens the possibility for the child to be cared for by three persons: biological parents and the partner of one of them, and the second one represents adoptio minus prey under another name.

In 2020, the administrative court allowed life partners to be foster parents, contra legem – the Law on Foster Care, and in 2021 it ruled that life partners should have access to the procedure for assessing capability to become adopters even though they are not provided as adoptive parents by the Family Act.

In 2020, 66 life partnerships were registered in the Republic of Croatia.

The lecture was organized as a dissemination event of the Central European Professors’ Network coordinated by the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law.

The video of the lecture can be found here


12:00 - 14:00