Avoliitto-muistilista kuva

Has common-law marriage become topical?

Cohabitation is a partnership parallel to a marriage where both partners have equal juridical rights. Provisions regarding marriage do not apply to cohabitation. Juridically cohabitation is an open union without any rights and responsibilities between the partners.

Ownership of property

In a cohabiting relationship both partners own the property that is under their own name. If required, they can acquire joint property and they have no rights to each other's property parallel to marriage rights. Each cohabiting common-law spouse decides on their own property and their spouse's right to their property is not secured in any way. This means that a common-law spouse can freely sell any property they own, for example the family's home.


  • personal account access rights
  • joint account for shared expenses
  • property ownership, are assets put under one spouse's name or jointly under both names?
  • it is good to agree on the ownership of the more expensive property that you purchase together e.g. car, apartment, expensive objects. This way they are easier to divide if you end up in a situation where they need to be divided.
  • How do we live?
    • possible shared home loan
    • guarantors
    • collateral
  • Do you both own a home? Selling or renting one of the homes.
  • insurance
    • home
    • personal insurances/beneficiaries
    • travel insurances
  • A shared dream by saving, whatever it may be.
    • monthly fund saving
    • savings accounts

When a cohabiting relationship terminates, assets are not divided and the partners do not have a right to each other's property. If a cohabiting relationship has lasted for over five years or the partners have a child together, one of the partners may have a right to special compensation.

Children in a cohabiting relationship

During your cohabiting relationship you may have had children together. Read about how a child's position is defined and how his or her matters are handled in a cohabiting relationship:

If a cohabiting relationship terminates, a child's position is the same as during a divorce.