A marked shift in changing global attitudes towards cohabiting couples emerges, though traditional views against it are legally entrenched. The concept of cohabitation is historically frowned upon, in religious societies where marriage is the norm before sharing the same roof.
With changing times in most cultures, living together out of wedlock is accepted as a social norm despite conflicting beliefs and opinions. Stronger religious outlooks lead to a less liberal view of cohabitation, and even if legal on paper, society taboos exist. But modern culture is ever changing, and cohabitation is more acceptable worldwide. Let’s review the current state of cohabitation for 2020.
In United Kingdom, cohabitation is perfectly socially acceptable as the 2019 data shows over 3.4 million cohabiting couples, with 17.9% of people living together. This is a small imcrease from 15% over the previous 10 years. UK is one of the most favoured nations for unmarried couples to share a home and settle down together. Cohabiting couples in UK have absolutely no legal obligation to financially support one another, and have fewer rights in marriage, when seeking separation. The UK has seen a surge in cohabitation disputes as cohabiting emerges as a growing family type in the UK.
Couples choosing to live together without getting married in Australia are considered to be in a “de facto” relationship. This cannot be considered by individuals living together who aren’t in any romantic relationship, so basically it is like cohabiting couple as in the United Kingdom. De facto unions are governed by Australia’s Family Law Act of 1975, with some rights under this law, but nowhere near those of a legally recognized marriage.
The law of cohabiting together in this North American country is pretty much like the UK – it is acceptable to live with one’s partner and cohabit with them, with or without signing any agreement. It was not always this easy-breezy of course – common law marriages are now a major part of modern society. Looking at 2016, cohabiting pairs in Canada were about 21%. That is a substantial increase from the 16.4% cohabiting in 2001.
The USA is a tad more complicated than UK due to a federal government overseeing different State laws. In States with strong religious beliefs, either legislation bans it or there are social expectations of marriage. Mississippi and Michigan, have laws against cohabitation, though rarely enforced. Many couples now live together without being married if they have a proper cohabitation agreement. California recognises cohabitation and calls those couples as ‘domestic partners’ without legal rights and can enter into a cohabitation agreement, without any protection if they separate.
South America is not an exception when it comes to the majority of the world’s countries with respect to cohabitation, as it rising with a sharp incline between 1970 and 2007. In Peru, Colombia and Venezuela the rising cohabitation levels follow negative aspects like lower education levels. As in the rest of the world, non-married couples live together in harmony without legal vows.
Communist China is big on cohabitation, with modern couples opting for it, more than in previous generations. This is in line with emerging trends around the world. Older mentalities are fixated by the idea that cohabitation without marriage is unstable and immoral, but more young people are influenced by western culture. A 2015 survey reveals that this rise is consistent and about 60% of couples living together before marriage were born in the 1980’s.
Travel to the Muslim West Asian and Central Asian countries and it’s very different as Muslim cultures disallow cohabitation, due to strong beliefs about forbidding pre-marital relations. Cohabitation is illegal in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Islam has a large following especially in West Asia, Northern and Western African countries. Cohabitation is publicly frowned upon and considered illegal in some Muslim-dominant countries. Regardless of religion, a majority of African cultures view cohabitation as unacceptable and is not tolerated in most African societies. Couples are living together without marriage in some areas, though cohabitation is not recognized as a legal relationship.