Cohabitation rules to protect partnerships

  • 2014-06-04
  • From wire report

LIVING TOGETHER: Moving in gets easier.

TALLINN - The Estonian government supported on May 22 a bill on cohabitation, which allows couples who, for some reason, cannot get married or do not want to get married but who want legal guarantees, to register their cohabitation, reports Public Broadcasting.

The bill creates the possibility of concluding gender-neutral cohabitation agreements with the aim to guarantee adequate protection for people who cohabitate together but are not married.
When preparing the regulation, the Legal Chancellor’s position was taken into account, according to which the current legal framework does not provide enough protection of the factual partners.
A cohabitation agreement can be concluded by two adults regardless of sex. At least one person must be a resident of Estonia. The agreement cannot be concluded between couples in which at least one of whom is married or already has a valid cohabitation agreement.

The agreement is to be concluded in a notarized form, and the partners have to submit an application for it.
While concluding the agreement, a suitable property relation has to be chosen from among three options. During the validity of the cohabitation agreement, the partners have maintenance obligations to each other. The cohabitation agreement shall be entered in the population register and the selected property relation in the marital property register.
In the European Union, a union of same-sex partners can be registered in 14 countries, and in four countries - Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - registration of cohabitation is gender-neutral.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 if approved by the parliament.