Cohabitation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Cohabitation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Cohabitation?

A man and a woman (or in some cases the same sex people) staying together in the same house or at same address for certain long period of time, as if they were married , though not, is known as Cohabitation. The court assumes that they are having a sexual relationship as well as a married couple would. There are certain rights and regulations given by the court to such unmarried couples. There may be several reasons for these couples to stay as a single yet living together as if married to one another. Some states do not allow such relationship and term it as criminal offence under adultery law.

History and Meaning of Cohabitation

Cohabitation is a term that originated from the Latin word "cohabitare," which means "to live together." In modern times, it refers to a couple who are not legally married but are living together and sharing a household as if they were. Cohabitation has become increasingly common in many parts of the world, and it has legal implications in some cases.

In many jurisdictions, cohabitation can impact property rights, child custody, and other legal matters. For example, a couple who lives together for a certain period of time may be considered "common-law spouses" or "domestic partners" with legal rights and obligations, just like a married couple.

Examples of Cohabitation

  1. John and Mary have been living together in the same apartment for five years. They share expenses and take care of each other, but they are not married.
  2. Jack and Jill moved in together six months ago. They are considering getting married but have not made any official plans yet.
  3. Sarah and Emily have been living together for ten years. They adopted a child together and have joint custody.

Legal Terms Similar to Cohabitation

  1. Common-Law Marriage: A legal concept whereby a couple is considered married after living together for a certain period of time, without going through a formal marriage ceremony.
  2. Domestic Partnership: A legal relationship between two people who live together and share a domestic life, but are not married.
  3. Civil Union: A legal relationship that provides some of the same benefits and responsibilities as marriage, but is not the same thing as marriage. Civil unions are recognized in some jurisdictions as an alternative to marriage for same-sex couples.