arrangement where two people who are not married live together in an intimate relationship

Cohabitation is an arrangement where people who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other live together, without being married. In most cases, the two people will be of opposite sex, but the term can also be used to describe same-sex relationships. Cohabitation has become common in many countries. In these countries, a percentage of children are born outside marriage.

In the United Kingdom in 2021 about 3.6 million people were cohabiting. In England people who live together without being married do not have any of the rights against their partner which married people have if there is a divorce. The law is slightly different in Scotland.

In Sweden, couples that split up can apply for a division of a property if it “was acquired for joint use”, regardless of who paid for it. In New Zealand, couples who have been together for longer than three years are said to be in a “de facto relationship”. They have a legal entitlement to half of the relationship property.[1]


  1. "Pressure grows to reform cohabiting couples' rights". Retrieved 2024-04-24.