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Couples

Updated : 06/08/2013

Unmarried couples

This page is about partners in a stable relationship who are not married or registered with any authority.

Find out about the rights of registered partners.

If you live together with a partner in a stable and continuous way, you have certain EU-wide rights, even if you have not registered your partnership with any authority.

If you move with your de facto partner to another EU country, that country must facilitate his or her entry and residence there if you can prove you live together or prove in some other way that you are in a long-term relationship. This is true whether or not your partner is an EU national.

In EU countries which recognise de facto unions, you will also have rights and obligations concerning property, inheritance and maintenance payments following a separation.

These rights are particularly important for same-sex couples, as not all EU countries allow them to get married or register their partnership in any way.

However, most EU countries have not defined exactly how you can prove a long-term relationship or cohabitation.

If you live in a country where you cannot get married (same sex couples) or enter into a registered partnership - or if you choose not to do either - one option could be to set up a cohabitation contract between you, to settle certain aspects of your cohabitation.

In practice, however, even with such a cohabitation contract it may still be difficult for you to enforce your rights.

If conflicts about property arise, the law of the country where the conflict occurred will generally apply.

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Footnote

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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