The Legal Status of Cohabitants - Requirements for Legal Recognition

Boele-Woelki (ed.), Common Core and Better Law in European Family Law, European Family Law Series, vol. 10, Intersentia, 2005, pp. 283-294

12 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019

See all articles by Jens M. Scherpe

Jens M. Scherpe

University of Cambridge; Aalborg University; University of Hong Kong

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

The traditional family structure, consisting of husband, wife and children may still be the norm in Europe. However, it can no longer claim to be the only form of family life, as there are many other forms present in modern society.

One of these so-called “new” forms of family life is cohabitation, or simply put: living together. The number of cohabiting couples is rising steadily in Europe, and so is the number of children born in such relationships Irrespective of one’s personal views on marriage and cohabitation, the fact that cohabitation does exist, and that many people cohabit for long periods of their life, cannot be ignored. Often, the protection of the weaker party in these relationships is necessary; the simplistic argument that it is “these people’s own fault if they do not marry” does not hold true in all cases, particularly – but not exclusively – if the couple have children.

As in all human relationships, conflicts may occur between the cohabitants (or between cohabitants and third parties), and frequently these problems will have to be dealt with in a court of law. Cases of this kind can be found throughout Europe. Yet, in many European countries the legal rules for cohabiting couples are far from clear. Some European countries have begun to legislate in the area of cohabitation. This article will analyze and compare the existing legislative models regarding one particularly important aspect: What should the requirement for the legal recognition of cohabitation be?

Keywords: cohabitation, family law, modern families, regulation, de facto

JEL Classification: K3, K36, K38

Suggested Citation

Scherpe, Jens M., The Legal Status of Cohabitants - Requirements for Legal Recognition (2005). Boele-Woelki (ed.), Common Core and Better Law in European Family Law, European Family Law Series, vol. 10, Intersentia, 2005, pp. 283-294, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3406677

Jens M. Scherpe (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Faculty of Law
10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Aalborg University ( email )

Fibigerstraede 4
DK-9100 Aalborg
Denmark

University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

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