Two people who live together can make a declaration of legal cohabitation to the municipal administration of their commune of residence. This declaration is recorded by the civil registrar and confers on the cohabitants rights and obligations that can be enforced by the courts:
- Protection of the family home: one of the two cohabitants cannot take the decision alone to sell, give away or mortgage the family home.
- The obligation of each cohabitant to contribute to the expenses of the common life.
- The joint and several obligation to participate in the debts contracted for the needs of the common life or for the children they are raising together.
- The administration issues a joint tax assessment in the name of both legal cohabitants.
This procedure is available to all persons living together in Belgium, regardless of their emotional or family ties, provided that they are not married and not already legally cohabiting with another person.
Legal cohabitation is automatically terminated by the marriage or death of one of the cohabitants, or voluntarily by a joint declaration or a unilateral declaration in writing and delivered against a receipt to the civil registrar of the commune of residence.