Cohabitation Laws and Rights

Cohabitation Laws

Under Belgium cohabitation there is a very broad cohabitation definition. Cohabitation laws cover sexual partners, people of any sexual orientation, and family relationships. Thus, a brother and a sister, an unmarried couple, gay couple etc. can make the declaration of legal cohabitation.

The law simply states that two adults who are not related by marriage or another legal cohabitation may be recognized as cohabitants in Belgium. Legally, cohabitation must involve two people so, forms of cohabitation between three or more people are not valid. And cohabiting couples must make a Declaration of Legal Cohabitation in accordance with article 1476 of the Civil Code to be considered in legal cohabitation.

Cohabitation Rights

A declaration of legal cohabitation carries certain cohabitation rights for the people involved and in Belgium legal cohabitation implies the same rights and obligations as marriage. The couple shares responsibility for joint expenses incurred in the course of their daily lives and benefit of any assets acquired during their partnership. Clearly, protection is only valid for cohabitants who made the declaration of legal cohabitation to their local commune. And protections are not valid once a cohabitation has ended.

  • Basically, each partner is the legal owner of their own finances and assets, unless you can’t prove who own’s what, then it  is considered jointly owned property.
    (If you buy something yourself, it belongs to you, if you buy something together, it belongs to each of you together and if you can’t remember/prove who bought it, it’s owned together.)
  • You will be liable for each others debts that are necessary for common life such as education for a shared child and taxes on a common home or car.
  • You and your partner will be entitled to a part of each others inheritance should either of you die.
  • At the request of one of the cohabitants, a justice may take urgent interim measures on: occupation of a common residence, property of cohabitants and children, different legal obligations of cohabitants. The justice can only take urgent action on interim measures. So, they may not take final action.

If you and your partner want to add further protections to your cohabitation then you can choose to make a Cohabitation Agreement.

Cohabitation Property Rights

One of the two cohabitants can not make the decision to sell or assign as collateral against a loan, a shared home or furniture without first obtaining the consent of their partner, even if that partner is not a co-owner. However, if their partner refuses, the judge may override them if the refusal is unjustified. This also goes for rentals, regardless of what is stated in the rental agreement or lease. Any notice of termination of a lease must be given by both cohabitants or sent by the landlord to each cohabitant individually.

Like married couples, each cohabitant owns the property that they can prove belongs to them along with any income from that property and their professional income. If you can’t prove that it belongs to you, then it is assumed to belong to  both of you. To avoid this second assumption, it’s always possible to make an inventory of your property of each person before you enter into legal cohabitation.

Now in the case of the death of one of the partners and the absence of a will, the remaining partner has the right to enjoy the use and advantages of the property and furniture. The remaining partner may stay in the house until their own death, at which point the property will pass on to any children. Obviously, this can be void according to a will. The use of the house can be converted into a sum of money, but only with the consent of the surviving legal partner.

For more information see this website:

There is also very detailed information here: Major legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners in Belgium



, ,

  1. #1 by Aqil on November 22, 2014 - 6:44 pm

    I have got the result it was negative because i am still not 21 kam now 20 next december but we r married from yesterday so now we Gonna ask papers on our marriage base and my wife is also pregnant she is pregnent from three months did i go with my living together appel or i go with marriage procedure i Will for ur answer greetings

    • #2 by Alina on November 25, 2014 - 8:35 am

      The cohabitation visa is only for unmarried couples, so now that you are married you do not meet the requirements. I would go forward and apply for a visa based on the marriage.

  2. #3 by Aqil on November 15, 2014 - 7:47 am

    So so if i get positieve and we get married so then That visa is not valid anymore so i am again on orange card or something

    • #4 by Alina on November 17, 2014 - 6:12 pm

      Right the cohabitation visa is only valid when you are not married, but if you do get married you can apply for a family reunification visa based on your marriage.

  3. #5 by Aqil on November 12, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    Hi i am in belguim from almost 2011 now i am together with my belguim partner we have samenwonen i get orange card and its gone be finish in november 20 but i still donthave any answer from stadhuis and 21 november we are getting married is there is any problem if my card is not valid or i go to commune before some days pls i would like to have ur advice

    • #6 by Alina on November 12, 2014 - 5:46 pm

      Normally you will not hear anything from the commune. You just have to go to the commune on the day your temporary orange card expires. Just be aware that if you have gotten a cohabitation visa, this visa is only valid for non-married couples.

Comments are closed.