Cohabitation or Common law marriage

Updated on Wednesday 8 March 2023

Cohabitation does not give any obligation to cohabiting partners, does not provide automatic protection of one another, or any solidarity for the expenses of everyday living.


What defines cohabitation?

Ignored by the law for a long time, cohabitation was defined by a law in 1999 and is legally defined since 1999 as a de facto union, featured by a common life presenting a character of stability and continuity, between two people, of different sexes or same sex, living as a couple.

What is a common law marriage certificate?

The common law marriage certificate is issued free of charge by some town halls, is not a contract and has a very relative legal value but can, if need be, certify since it only attests to the situation of the cohabiting partners.

One asks the common law marriage partners, in case of a common law marriage certificate, and it is given after showing the proof of identity, and receipts or invoices in both names. The town hall can refuse to establish it.

Common law partners can write a declaration of honor to justify their cohabitation status.

What is the common law marriage convention?

Unlike the cohabitation certificate, The common law marriage agreement is a contract whose content is free and whose main aim is to organize life together. However, it is much less of interest compared to a marriage contract or a civil union.

To put it straight, it mainly allows you to carry out an inventory of goods, mostly furniture, of which each is the owner but also their future, the event if the couple were to split and plan the daily functioning of their couple (example: participation in the expenses of community life) but also the methods of dividing the goods in the event of rupture.

But, on the other hand, it does not in any way help organize the ownership of the goods generally, which will be acquired during common law marriage (they will be personally liable to the one who buys them or undivided if the two cohabiting partners were to act together, during an acquisition). Nor does it allow the imposition of personal obligations on partners.