Three elements seem to be essential for a cohabitative relationship. ie
- A Sexual relationship
- A factual cohabitation
- A measure of stability to the relationship
The courts have however recognised the concept of a universal partnership which may be of application to some or all of the parties assets.
Where two people live together as spouse in a monogamous relationship especially if the relationship is sustained for a number of years , they often assume that this entitles them to certain rights that they can claim against their partner.
The relationship of cohabitation does not afford either partner any special rights in terms of their relationship with the other partner. It is advisable where a relationship of cohabitation exists to enter into a contract with your partner which will then create rights and obligations in terms of such contract and which is then enforceable by law .
In the past the courts have come to the assistance of parties in a cohabitation relationship , by deciding that there exists an expressed or implied universal prtnership between the parties. Unfortunately their is no law in South Africa guiding the relationship of cohabitation and therefore it is safer to enter into a properly drawn contract with the other partner , defining the rights and obligations of the relationship.
If you elect to share bed and board perhaps a Cohabitation Agreement should be considered.