Last checked: 06/05/2022

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 civil or registered partners.

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

Moving to another EU country

If you move with your de facto partner to another EU country, that country must facilitate their entry and residence there - whether your partner is an EU national or not.

You must be able to prove you live together or that you are in a long-term relationship. However, most EU countries have not defined exactly how you can prove a long-term relationship or cohabitation.

Rights and obligations

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.

Cohabitation contracts

If you live in a country where you cannot get married, you cannot enter into a registered partnership, or if you choose not to do either, you could set up a cohabitation contract with your partner and settle practical or legal 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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