“Cohabitation or commonly referred to as Live-in relationships is an arrangement where two people who are involved in a sexual or intimate relationship aren’t married but still live together either permanently or temporarily”.
Live-in relationships give young couples a chance to know one another better before they take the next step in their relationship that is marriage. This phenomenon is common in countries like the U.S.A, U.K., France, China, Japan, Korea, and India in the urban areas.
The tremendous increase in live-in relationships:
- The youth of today don’t see marriage as their priority; they feel if they are in love or like a person they can be happy with them while living together without signing a legal paper.
- Due to a rapid increase in divorce cases, it seems nearly impossible for couples to get married; they need time, and for this live in is their best rescue.
- There is a commitment phobia in couples today and some don’t want to find love and find satisfaction in social intimacy; the need to have more than one partner has given rise to this trend.
- It is a more economical way as couples living together share the expense of living and hence reduce the pressure of the cost of living of a single person.
View worldwide :
Worldwide, it is widely in fashion; with the coming in of modernization and awareness only a few people that are still bound to religious and cultural age-old tradition oppose this arrangement.
Mostly the couples who enter in live-in relationships are financially independent and enjoy freedom and space as there are no obligations or commitments involved.
India and Live-in relationships:
Though we are a developing country and matching the trends of other nations and live-in relationship is in fashion in various metropolitan and urban cities of India like Mumbai, Noida, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. But still, India is a country of people who follow diverse religions and cultures. Here, living together without marriage is a huge step which majority of the people don’t agree.
In India, marriage is a union of two souls, and coming together of two families and a lifelong commitment and so live in is not a great option. Indian Constitution under Article 21 guarantees the Right to life, and under this article, Court has given legitimacy to live in a relationship. So everyone has the right to choose whosoever they want to be with and live howsoever they want to.
The Court has stated that life in relation or cohabitation is permissible and no two adult individuals living together can be considered unlawful or illegal.
With the use of social media through movies, short clips, articles in newspapers awareness is being spread and people have started changing their point of view on this issue.
Children born out of Live-in relationships in India:
Children born out of live-in relations have three main rights :
To protect the rights of children born out of live-in relationships the Supreme Court verdict of 2008 declared that these children will not be considered illegitimate.
In January 2010, Supreme Court declared if a live-in relationship continued for a long duration then a child born to such a couple will not be considered illegitimate.
In the recent Supreme Court verdict of 2021: “The couples living together for a long time in a live-in relationship will be considered as the husband and wife according to Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act and the children born will be legitimate”. Both the parents and children will have equal rights.
It is a sensitive topic, as the child born out of a live-in relationship can’t be denied maintenance as it is a violation of Article 21 right to life a fundamental right. According to Section 21 of Hindu Adoption Act, 1956, a child whether genuine or ill-conceived till the time they are a minor, they are qualified for upkeep by father or from his domain of their dad.
3. Right to Property
The legitimacy of a child to Right to Property is a controversial topic and this legitimacy has always been considered a major factor while considering the inheritance rights under Hindu Law. Courts have declared “That a kid born out of the live-in relationship won’t be denied of the inheritance of property when born after a long time”.
Under Article 14 Right to Equality is violated if these children are not given same treatment as other childern . Thus even after so many years, the right of these children is a debatable topic.
CUSTODY OF CHILD
A major issue faced by both parties involved in live-in relation is the custody of a child as there is no law regarding this issue. There should be an appointment of a guardian for the minor child. And while considering, a live-in relationship the couples must first decide who gets the custody once they separate. It is essential that children born out of such relationships be given proper care and dealt with proper understanding.
With the coming in of modernization more couples opt for live-in relationships and the global view is changing but the basic rights must not be violated in any case and child is centric to both the partners he/she should not suffer and should not be treated as a liability or left out. There is a need for government to make laws regarding this aspect of society.
Right to life is a fundamental right and anyone can choose whom they want to spend their life with; with or without marriage. It is a personal choice and we are no one to comment on this process. The least we can do is respect the decisions made by youth today. We can just guide the youth nut they have to learn from their own mistakes and learn not to repeat them. Live-in is a fresh concept, it will take time especially for Indian nationals to accept it. It is important that the government steps in and formulates rules and regulations to protect the rights of live-in couples and their children.