The field of law has dealt heavily with the obligations, since basically the social structure of regulation and sanction in pursuit of a healthy coexistence seems to be a precise balance between the solidary attitude and the obligation.
In this order of things, the obligations they can be civil or natural according to their condition and the subjection they have to the Law: those whose non-compliance may motivate an action by legal means will be civil, while those that do not have a legal basis will be natural obligations, and an action cannot be exercised. direct through the Law to enforce compliance. For example: a deposit contract, a gambling debt.
What are the civil and natural obligations?
In this order of things, the civil obligation it is easy to be interpreted and understood: in effect, they are those that are born from laws or contraventions, of which ignorance cannot be accused and those that have a function in pursuit of the balance or social contract that has been explained before.
Regarding the natural obligations, the question is something else complex: Although it lacks legal action to be required, due to its characteristics it should not be confused with a simple moral duty, insofar as it does produce a series of legal effects (Effects of natural obligations).
The most common is the principle of withholding of what is paid, that is to say, the creditor’s power to retain whatever the debtor has spontaneously paid. In addition, a natural obligation can be opposed to the creditor who demands the fulfillment of a civil obligation, and on the other hand it can be converted from natural to civil through the so-called ‘novation’. Sometimes, these natural obligations are guaranteed by means of the constitution of a pledge or mortgage right.
Most of the Civil Codes establish particularities regarding the differences between the classes of natural obligations and civil obligations. It is usual that the cases of civil obligations are listed, being frequent to find there:
- those contracted by relatively incapable people (who have not had sufficient judgment and discernment);
- those that come from acts that lack the solemnities that the Law requires;
- those that are extinguished by prescription;
- and those judicially dismissed.
Next, ten classes of civil obligations and five of natural type will be listed, in order to illustrate with greater precision the scope of each one of them.
Examples of Civil Obligations
- Pay damages in case of causing damage to someone else’s property.
- A deposit agreement.
- A restraining order.
- The obligations that arise from marriage.
- Comply with what is stipulated in a contract.
- Pay the copyright in the corresponding cases.
- The prohibition of smoking in certain places.
- The obligations of a father towards his children.
- Those born from divorce.
- The prohibition of parking in a certain place.
Examples of Natural Obligations
- A minor who lends money to another.
- A gambling debt.
- Opposition of debts in compensation, from a debt not formally constituted.
- An insane person who buys a product without being at full capacity.
- Payment of a debt without obligation, having believed to be obliged to pay it.