What do I need to take into account if I decide to enter into a cohabitation agreement?

There are a number of things you will need to think about if you decide to enter into a samenlevingscontract (cohabitation agreement).

Cohabitation agreement

In a cohabitation agreement you can make arrangements regarding things like:

  • sharing housing costs, living expenses and clothing;
  • bank accounts;
  • the costs of raising and caring for children;
  • how your property will be divided up if the relationship ends;
  • a survivorship clause, allowing you to keep shared property should your partner die.

Drawing up a cohabitation agreement

You can have a cohabitation agreement drawn up by a civil-law notary or draw one up yourself. You can also choose not to formalise your relationship in a contract.

However, you must have a notarised cohabitation agreement to qualify for a partner pension scheme. Notarial fees for a cohabitation agreement vary.

Requirements for a notarised cohabitation agreement

If you and your partner meet the following conditions you can enter into a cohabitation agreement:

  • you must be adults (at least 18 years old);
  • you must not be under guardianship.

Cohabitation and tax

Cohabitation can affect the tax you and your cohabitation partner pay. This depends on whether or not you are fiscal partners. For more information, see ‘Will cohabitation affect the tax I pay’?

Difference between cohabitation and marriage or civil partnership

There are a number of differences between a cohabitation agreement and a marriage or civil partnership.

  • A marriage or civil partnership automatically entails certain mutual rights and obligations, for example regarding maintenance and rights of inheritance. If you have a cohabitation agreement, you will only have these rights and obligations if you have included them in the agreement.
  • There is no gemeenschap van goederen (general community of property) if you have a cohabitation agreement, unless you specify it explicitly in the agreement. If you do not have a civil-law notary draw up a marriage contract or partnership agreement, you will be married or registered in general community of property.
  • If you are married or have a civil partnership, you and your partner will automatically have parental responsibility for any children that are born. Under a cohabitation agreement, only the birth mother automatically has parental responsibility. The male or female partner will first need to acknowledge parenthood to become the child’s official parent and will have then automatically joint parental responsibility together with the birth mother. If the birth mother refuses, the partner or biological father can apply to the court for joint responsibility. To do so, they will need to engage a lawyer.