New cohabitation law approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament

The new cohabitation law is set to repeal and replace the old law that regulated cohabitation 

Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis tabled the bill in parliament on Monday
Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis tabled the bill in parliament on Monday

After it was approved in Cabinet last Tuesday, Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis tabled a new cohabitation law in Parliament “that works well for everyone and that protects the vulnerable, including the woman.”

The new cohabitation law is set to repeal and replace the old law that previously regulated cohabitation.

The law, the Equality Ministry said, would do away with two types of cohabitation that were recognised in the old law: unilateral cohabitation, where one member of a couple can declare the desire to cohabit; and the de facto cohabitation, where a couple is automatically considered by law as cohabiting after two years of living together.

The aim of the law, Zammit Lewis said, is that all kinds of families become recognised in the eyes of law and protected by the state. The first reading was discussed in parliament on Monday.

“Cohabitation is another model that recognises the family and where for some reason, parties involved do not feel comfortable with getting married or entering into a civil union. We fully respect their decision,” the minister said.

The Notarial Council and the Chamber of Advocates submitted their input during the consultative process until they reached an agreement with the government.

The old law, the ministry said on Monday, granted more power to the parents rather than the law courts with regard to the future of the children if any, with the possibility of prejudicing them.

“The process agreed upon is simple… a couple can go before a notary that will draw up a public cohabitation act… and the couple declares whether it would engage the community of assets… the notary then publishes such an act in the Public Registry and a certificate of cohabitation is issued,” Zammit Lewis said.

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