The legality of Live-Ins
Live-in relationships have always carried a sense of stigma and overall ambiguity. Thankfully, this trend seems to be changing now, with more and more couples opting to cohabit before marriage. 

While explaining the exact legal terminology may be complex, it is sufficient to initially begin by stating that no, live-in relationships are not illegal. 

Cohabiting couples should arm themselves with the correct information and resources regarding live-in relationships such that they can navigate any difficult altercations with ease. 


How is a Live-In Relationship defined?

A live-in relationship is essentially a social contract between two individuals who have agreed to live with one another. 

Once a mutual decision to stop living together is made, a live-in relationship is considered terminated.

While India has many reservations attached to couples living this way, and many Indian laws view marriage as the only viable way for two individuals to pool in resources, live-in relationships have no illegal aspect attached to them.


Legal recognition

While no portions in the Indian penal code directly provide guidelines about live-in situations, the courts in India have consistently voted in favor of the legality of such relationships. 

Due to certain writs that exist in India, the decision of higher courts becomes benchmarks for decisions made by lower courts on similar issues. 

Live-in relationships also fall under the fundamental right known as the Right to Life.


Noteworthy features

  • It is worth noting that there is no limit on how long a couple can be in a live-in relationship.
  • A live-in relationship need not culminate in marriage at any stage. Courts have also removed all moral ideologies from the concept of live-in situations.
  • These types of relationships also called walk-in-walk-out relationships since there is no proper termination clause.
  • Heterosexual couples living together are under no obligation to provide financial assistance to their partners. 
  • Couples living together in live-in situations also do not automatically share possessions or resources, savings, investments, etc.
  • While many countries convert live-in relationships to common-law cohabitation after a specific time has passed, India makes no such mandates.
  • Your landlord’s consent is required for you and your partner to live together.
  • If your name is on the rent agreement, you get more leverage. You may ask your partner to leave at any time. If you go, your partner must leave as well.


Call To Action

Overall, live-in relationships are becoming more commonplace in India. One can only hope that this brings along a change in our prejudices, such that we stop vilifying consenting adults from living together. 

So please don’t wait; make it a point to learn the ins and outs of live-in relationships today!



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