Rights in live-in relationships


May 26, 2018
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty




This law-guide is for couples in love desiring to live-in together before marriage and the obligations and responsibilities that follow in such a relationship.
 

What is a Live-in relationship?

 
The Apex Court very clearly in a landmark judgment Indra Sarma vs. V.K.V. Sarma explained live-in relationships in 5 clear-cut ways
  1. An unmarried adult male and an unmarried adult female living together is the most fundamental kind of relationship.
  2. A mutually entered domestic cohabitation between a married man with an unmarried adult woman. 
  3. A mutually entered domestic cohabitation between an unmarried adult man with a married woman.
The above 2 relationships fall under adultery i.e. voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person other than with spouse and is punishable under Section- 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with imprisonment up to 5 years.
  1. A mutually entered domestic cohabitation between an unmarried adult female and a married male without knowing the marital status of the partner is also punishable under IPC.
  2. A mutually entered domestic cohabitation between 2 homosexuals, which cannot result in marriage as no marital laws are established for homosexuality in India as of now.
  

Is live-in legal?

 
The Supreme Court in multiple judgments has declared that when a couple has been living and staying together like husband and wife for a few years and even had children, the legal system would consider that the couple was married and therefore, marital laws would be applicable.
 
In a different case, the Supreme Court opined that if a couple is in love and aspire to live together then it is part of their right to life and not a “sin” thereby legalizing live-in relationships.
 

How are the women protected?


Protecting the women partners was possibly the most important responsibility of the Court before legalizing live-in relationships and therefore, the ambit of several laws was increased. For instance,


Maintenance to the woman partner

 

Under the Indian law, the maintenance right is only available to wives under all personal family/ divorce laws. And since no religion recognizes, accepts nor grants any remedy to women in live-in relationships, the Indian Courts have expanded the ambit of maintenance to women-partners under Section- 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

 

 

Domestic Violence


The Domestic Violence Act was executed to provide protection to women against all kinds of abusive marital relationships including verbal, physical, economic and mental abuse. But, under Section- 2 (f), it applies to both married and unmarried couples i.e. to every couple in any relationship in the nature of marriage.
 
Therefore, keeping in mind all this, the Supreme Court in multiple cases has included live-in relationships to be brought within the purview of the law present.

 

 Are the children protected?


Status of legitimacy and inheritance rights of children

Under Section- 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, children have been provided with inheritance rights where it has been clearly given the legal status of legitimacy to illegitimate children i.e. born out of a marriage for inheritance. Thus, children born in a live-in relationship have been granted inheritance rights. Inheritance rights have also been made available under both self-purchased and ancestral properties.

 

Maintenance and custody rights of children

The stand on the children’s right of maintenance who are born outside marriage differs in different personal marriage laws. For example, the father has the responsibility to support the child under the Hindu Law, while the father has been excused from the same responsibility under the Muslim Law.
Nonetheless, children who cannot claim maintenance under personal laws can still claim the same under Section- 125 of the CrPC since it provides maintenance right to both wives and children.



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


Googling your legal issue online?

The internet is not a lawyer and neither are you.
Talk to a real lawyer about your legal issue.

Popular Family Lawyers


Advocate H Gouri Shankar
Dilsukhnagar , Hyderabad
24 years Experience
Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi
Sector-16 , Faridabad
33 years Experience
Advocate J. P. Rinwa
Swej Farm, Sodala , Jaipur
19 years Experience
Advocate Bala Janaki
330 Thambuchetty Street , Chennai
35 years Experience
Connect with top Family lawyers for your specific issue

Family Law Articles


​Women, know your rights before getting married: Rights of daughters-in-law in India

Looking to adopt a child? Everything you need to know before adopting

Abortion Laws in India

Can married daughter be a part of HUF?

User Reviews


4.9 - 15 reviews
A
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

The writer has explained the law perfectly.

Amrita on Feb 16, 2020
D
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

needed legal advice…who to call

Dipak on Feb 16, 2020
N
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

thanks for the information

Niraj on Feb 08, 2020
K
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

good legal subject

Karthik on Jan 24, 2020
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

good article. Can you share more detail

Prasad on Jan 14, 2020
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

nice work. Learned a lot. Thanks

Sushil on Feb 06, 2020
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

very helpful and detailed

Sudhir on Jan 09, 2020
D
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

its very helpful on the subject

Deep on Feb 16, 2020
D
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

Nice one.

Dipak on Jan 12, 2020
V
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

informative with the law.

Vinayak on Jan 14, 2020
D
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

helpful in understanding the law

Divya on Jan 21, 2020
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

nicely written. Great work

Praveen on Jan 30, 2020
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

it’s a very nice legal article

Priti on Jan 15, 2020
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

how to contact a lawyer from your website

Shruti on Jan 26, 2020
A
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

Good work with the article. Solved all my legal queries. Regards.

Asha on Feb 01, 2020

VIEW ALL