The term ‘cohabiting relationship’ is used to describe a situation whereby two people live together and there is an obligation to register this relationship with a public authority, but such a relationship does not create a link between the cohabiting persons in the same way as marriage.
Establishing a cohabiting relationship in Belgium or abroad
1. In Belgium
You must contact the Registrar of the municipality where you and your partner have your habitual residence. A Belgian Registrar can only record the termination of a cohabiting relationship if it was initially registered in Belgium.
If you want to register a cohabiting relationship abroad, you will have to contact the relevant authority in the country concerned. A Belgian consulate-general or consulate does not have any authority in such matters.
What is the applicable legal system?
A cohabiting relationship is governed by the laws of the country where the relationship was first registered, even if both partners are subsequently domiciled or habitually resident in another country.
The applicable law determines whether such a registration is possible, its effects on both partners and their property, as well as the circumstances and conditions for terminating the relationship.