What are Cohabitation Rights

Couples are living together unmarried more than ever before. We are in an age of independence that breaks both past obligations imposed on unions from the church, as well as prior limits in geographical location. Couples are more international than ever before. Italians are not moving to the Americas with other Italians. Oftentimes, a British person will immigrate to Italy with a Swiss or American national for example.

In all the excitement of an adventurous new relationship, it is only natural for couples to fail to learn about and protect their rights. Oftentimes, unmarried couples believe that they have the same rights to live in the communal home as married couples. In reality, they do not have the same rights. In England, unmarried couples typically have little to no rights compared to those married couples. Conversely, in Vatican-controlled Italy, unmarried couples that cohabitate usually have similar rights as married couples.

Perhaps the most surprising and alarming laws come from the U.S.A. Some U.S. states require a couple to file a cohabitation agreement with the local court to guarantee rights and protections. Though other states bestow financial obligations on parties for a child that the party has no biological connection to at all. Treating a child as one’s own can create a parent-child relationship and obligate the ‘parent’ to provide for the child until the child reaches the age of maturity. Though, because the party shares no biological bond with the child, he or she may have no rights whatsoever to remain in the family home with the child.

Notes on Cohabitation Agreements

Should you choose to execute a Cohabitation agreement, note that they vary in content. Some agreements are government-issued. Others have specific regional requirements. Though these forms may not adequately protect your rights. Moreover, you might not be protected financially in a break up if you are unemployed. Don’t limit yourself to the rights available under the local law without an adequate co-habitation agreement.

An unwed mother learned that she was owed substantial financial compensation after a consultation with our firm. She lived with her partner for 10 years unmarried. She and her partner lived with her children from a previous marriage and their child together. No attorney had told her that she had rights under Italian law. Her Italian partner was not fully divorced from his first wife. However, she bore a child with her partner and he supported both her and her previous children financially. Regardless of a cohabitation agreement, the court held that the man must continue his financial support of the woman and all of her children until all children reached the age of maturity.

Whether you would like to protect your exposure or learn your rights, we recommend you do not assume anything relating to your co-habitation.