Statutory Cohabitation Contracts
The Belgium Approach
© November 28, 2004, Demian
“Statutory Cohabitation Contracts” were instituted in Belgium on November, 1999, and were effective on January 1, 2000.
These contacts are available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. They provide a ritual and a community acknowledgement of a relationship. Couples have the option of developing their own binding legal agreements regarding their mutual responsibilities, but these are not bound to any government recognition for purposes of any legal or financial benefits enjoyed by legally married couples.
Belgium specifically omited provisions for two-parent adoptions by “Statutory Cohabitation Contracted” partners, leaving co-parents with no legal standing, other than the one parent who had adopted, or was the biological parent.
The Contracts — which provide little more than a ceremony — are not recognized outside of Belgium.
The Contracts are now no longer needed because, as of January 30, 2003, Belgium became the second nation to offer legal marriage. [Please see our article: Belgium Offers Legal Marriage]
This domestic partnership status does not work as a model for America, because implementing an equivalent legal status to marriage requires duplicating 150-to-350 laws in each state, and more than 1,138 laws on the federal level. [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married.] The whole idea is completely impractical.
Further, domestic partnerships are usually not recognized outside of the issuing state. Because of the lack of portability, they create a patchwork legal status as a couple moves or vacations.
While such contracts are an attempt to create equal treatment, they only reinforce a separate and totally unequal status, one we consider to be a manifestation of apartheid. [See Marrying Apartheid: The Failure of Domestic Partnership Status]
For a vast survey, please see our:
Legal Marriage Report: Global Status of Legal Marriage
Return to: Domestic Partnership Benefits
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