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Legal cohabitation

Two people who declare the legal cohabitation before the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages of their municipality are legal cohabitants. Registration offers certain legal protection in terms of ownership of property, the family home, and the division of family expenses.

Conditions

In Belgium two persons can legally cohabit. This does not only apply to partners. You can also legally cohabit with relatives such as a brother or sister, a parent or a child, or with someone else with whom you do not have a sexual relationship.

You can only sign a declaration of legal cohabitation if

  • you are legally competent to conclude a contract
  • are not married
  • and do not legally cohabit with someone else.

Procedure

You declare the legal cohabitation together with your partner or cohabitant before the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages. The declaration contains the following information:

  • date of the declaration
  • surname, first names, place and date of birth, signature of both parties
  • joint domicile
  • indication of the willingness of both parties to live together legally
  • indication that both parties have read Articles 1475 to 1479 of the Civil Code which regulates the status of the legal cohabitation prior to the declaration
  • and the reference to the cohabitation contract, if any, drawn up by a notary prior to the declaration.

The legal cohabitation can be terminated in the following ways:

  • by mutual agreement of the cohabitants
  • or unilaterally by one of the cohabitants by means of a written statement delivered to the register office of the municipality
  • by marriage
  • or by the death of one of the cohabitants

Requisites

  • The identity cards of both cohabitants.

If you are registered in the population or foreign nationals register, the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages will check your civil status in the National Register.

If you are not registered or your marital status is not known, you must prove your marital status yourself by means of one of the following documents (maximum six months old):

  • a certificate of unmarried status
  • an extract from the divorce certificate if you are divorced
  • or an extract from the death certificate if you are a widow(er
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  • Last revision 24/01/2024
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