Since marriage is not indicative of family ties, many couples choose cohabitation instead. However, despite certain advantages, marriage and cohabitation each have their own drawbacks. This paper describes the difference between marriage and cohabitation, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
The main difference lies in the fact that marriage is a legally enforceable union, while cohabitation has no legal evidence. Marriage often requires a license and a blood test. Cohabitation, on the other hand, has no formal requirements. If a married couple decides to separate, the alliance must be legally terminated, which can be time-consuming and expensive. If a couple lives together without being married, their “divorce” is a simple informal agreement between the parties.
In the case of divorce, spouses have the option of dividing all the property that has been acquired together during their marriage between themselves in a procedure regulated by law. A cohabiting couple is not legally required to divide the property, which can cause a number of concerns. Moreover, former spouses may be obliged to help each other financially, whereas a couple that merely lived together is not required to pay each other any financial support in case of separation unless an appropriate contract has been concluded.
Similarly, a married person has to provide all possible support (as a rule, financial backing, and care) to their spouse if he/she has become ill or incapacitated. Cohabiting partners are not legally entitled to each other’s support and financial assistance in the event of illness or loss of capacity. A spouse can also inherit part of the estate of their deceased husband or wife, whereas, in the case of cohabitation, the property of the deceased will become the property of the one who was listed in the will or under the law.
Cohabitation has no legal advantages to marriage because it is an informal family. However, in some sense, this is its main advantage. Partners have no legal obligations to each other, and in the event of separation, all the procedures are informal and unfixed by-laws, which simplifies and accelerates the process. It is worth mentioning that couples who merely live together are more prone to infidelity than married ones.
Couples choose shared residence or marriage based on their own preferences. It should be noted that couples who enter into marriage after a short cohabitation or without it at all feel less happy in marriage than those who spent some time in cohabitation and choose marriage as the next level of their relationships. Opponents of marriage argue that it creates a number of additional inconveniences and responsibilities for each other, and thus should be thoroughly considered before implementing.
To summarize, cohabitation and marriage both have their advantages and drawbacks. Cohabitation is not fixed legally, while marriage adds responsibilities and inconveniences. Many couples try to prolong their unmarried life together in order to feel freer. Others believe that marriage is a measure of maximum confidence.
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