A cohabitation relationship exists between two persons who are living, without concluding a marriage, in the same household, in emotional and economic community (hereinafter: ‘union’), and neither of them is in a community of life in the form of marriage, registered partnership or cohabitation relationship with another person, and they are neither lineal relatives, nor siblings.
Cohabitation is a factual situation; the legislator attaches legal consequences to the existence of an actual relationship and not to a relationship established before an authority.
With regard to the rights and obligations of cohabitants, legal provisions are laid down in both the Book of Obligations and the Book of Family Law in the Civil Code.
I. The property consequences of cohabitation are as follows:
The law foresees a community of accrued gains as the property regime between cohabiting couples, i.e. the parties, unlike spouses, are beneficiaries in their own right and may mutually assert obligatory claims to accrued gains upon the dissolution of their union.
By way of derogation from the law, cohabitants may arrange their property relations in a contract for the duration of their living together as a cohabiting couple. The contract is valid if drawn up in an authentic instrument, or a private instrument countersigned by a lawyer. In the contract, cohabitants may lay down any property provisions that may apply between spouses based on a contract or the Civil Code (e.g. the complete separation of property).
In the same way, it is also possible for cohabitants to settle in advance and in contract the subsequent use of the home used by them together in case their union ends. This contract is also valid if drawn up in an authentic instrument, or a private instrument countersigned by a lawyer.
The cohabitants may agree on the subsequent use of the common home even following the termination of their union; however, this agreement is not subject to any form-related requirements (e.g.: being in the form of an authentic instrument or a private instrument countersigned by a lawyer).
II. A cohabiting relationship may have legal effects in family law if the relationship has existed for at least one year and the cohabitants had a child together.
Such legal consequences in family law include:
III. If the existence or duration of cohabitation is contested (e.g. proof of cohabitation needs to be provided in order to claim a right), cohabitants may have multiple options to provide proof of the existence of the union. The Register of Declarations of Cohabitation, maintained by the Hungarian National Chamber of Notaries Public, facilitates the provision of proof of cohabitation (see Civil partnership). Unless proven otherwise, the Cohabitation Register provides proof of the existence of cohabitation between partners whose joint declaration on the existence of cohabitation is in the cohabitation register.
Given that cohabitation is a factual situation, the existence of a union can also be proven by other means (e.g. by a witness). If cohabitants are not in the register maintained by the Hungarian National Chamber of Notaries Public, and the fact that they are in a relationship can be disputed, the burden of proof of the existence of cohabitation falls on cohabitants.
Date of the case description: 27/05/2020
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Sections 6:514 to 6:517 and 4:86 to 4:95 of Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code