Case law definitions of cohabitation

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Case law definitions of cohabitation
  • Factors
  • Case law
  • Human rights

Case law definitions of cohabitation

There are various definitions of cohabitation within case law. Under the current remedies available to cohabitants, the first step will be to establish that the relationship is sufficient to satisfy a specific remedy. Whether cohabitation has taken place may also arise on the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership ie the significance of pre-marital/civil partnership cohabitation in financial proceedings. See also Practice Notes:

  1. Statutory and other definitions of cohabitation

  2. The age of the parties and the length of the marriage or civil partnership

  3. Eligibility to apply under TOLATA 1996

  4. Rights on death of cohabitant

  5. Family provision claims—the cohabitant


Of the various definitions that have arisen within case law, a generally accepted list of potential influencing factors is (per Kimber v Kimber):

  1. whether the parties are members of the same household and share their daily life

  2. the parties' intention and motivation

  3. whether there is stability to their relationship

  4. whether there is an aspect of financial support and pooling/sharing of finances

  5. whether there is a sexual relationship

  6. whether the parties have a child or children or have taken on responsibility for a child of one of the parties

  7. whether there is public acknowledgement of the relationship

Case law

In Kotke v Saffarini (a claim under the

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