Cohabitant relationship

The term ‘cohabitant relationship’ is used to describe a situation whereby two people live together and whereby there is an obligation to register this with a public authority. From an administrative point of view, such a relationship does not bind the cohabiting persons in the same way as a marital relationship.

Entering into a cohabitant relationship in Belgium or abroad

In Belgium, to register a cohabitant relationship you must contact the registrar of births, marriages and deaths for the municipality where you and the other person permanently reside together.

A Belgian registrar of births, marriages and deaths can only record the termination of a cohabitant relationship if it was initially registered in Belgium.

If you want to have a cohabitant relationship registered abroad, you will have to contact the competent authority in the country in question. Please note that a Belgian embassy, consulate-general or consulate does not have any authority in such matters.

What is the applicable national legal system for a cohabitant relationship?

A cohabitant relationship is governed by the laws of the country where the relationship was first registered, even if the two people’s primary place of residence is transferred to another country afterwards.

The applicable law determines, among other things, whether such a registration is possible, the consequences for the two individuals and their property, as well as the circumstances and requirements which must apply to terminate the relationship.