This template is under development but may be used on a trial basis.

For more information, see Assertions - Family Outside Marriage.


The raw (internal) template follows:


Since Cohabitation is a relationship event OUTSIDE marriage, it should be included as an "Other" event on the Family Page (as shown above), rather than a "Marriage" event. Marriage events should be reserved for relationships that were known or presumed to be legally or religiously formalized.

The term "Cohabitation" should not be used solely because a marriage record has not been found or the actual marriage ceremony has not been identified. Users are encouraged to add such defining terms and relationship characteristics to the description field in freeform style following the template to further characterize what was known about the relationship (as shown below). Also the term should not be used for a extramarital relationship, or one that was primarily an affair outside marriage (unless that cohabitation occurred subsequent to a listed "Separation" event).

Examples include the following:

  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Presumption of evidence
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - No marriage ceremony known
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - No marriage record found
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Lived together prior to marriage
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Had cohabitation agreement
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Further status unknown
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Limited cohabitation
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Premarital cohabitation
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - No alternative cohabitation
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Substitute marriage cohabitation
  • {{CohabitationWithoutFormalities}} - Convenient cohabitation

Use of wording or terminology that may be viewed as judgmental should be avoided.

Descriptive Term Definitions

Here are accepted definitions of some of the cohabitation terms used above. Some of these terms are relatively new creations, so probably would apply to more contemporary relationships (which would imply involving living people - not accepted as WeRelate).

  • Presumption of evidence: Evidence may be documentary, or may be based on first or second-hand personal knowledge. The evidence should be annotated further by source citation (as should all fact events).
  • Limited Cohabitation: Limited cohabitation occurs when a couple becomes romantically involved and begins spending more time together. Limited cohabitation is a natural occurrence when a couple begins spending the night together at one of their homes. This form of cohabitation can result in marriage. Alternately, a limited cohabitation can become a substitute marriage cohabitation, a premarital cohabitation or dissolve if the relationship fails.
  • Premarital Cohabitation: A premarital cohabitation occurs when a couple decide to get married but desire a trial marriage period. These couples often believe that premarital cohabitation gives them an opportunity to experience married life to determine if the lifestyle is right for them. Premarital cohabitation can result in a marriage or dissolve if the couple discovers that they are not ready to marry each other. Premarital cohabitation involves many of the pressures and responsibilities of marriage, such as fidelity and marital expectations.
  • Substitute Marriage Cohabitation: Substitute marriage cohabitation involves an agreement between two people to live together as if they were already married without a legal ceremony. Over the course of living together, responsibilities and expectations that are unique to their relationship will develop. People who were previously married are more likely to prefer this form of cohabitation as an alternative to marriage, especially when the previous marriage ended painfully.
  • No Alternative Cohabitation: No alternative cohabitation involves couples who are not legally permitted to get married, such as gay couples in most states. This form of cohabitation differs from a substitute marriage cohabitation because the option to marry is not available. Gay couples can form this kind of a long-term cohabitation relationship as a necessary union in the absence of legal marriage.
  • Convenient Cohabitation: Convenient cohabitation occurs when a couple chooses to live together as a necessary alternative to living separately. This is especially common in poorer communities, where couples live together as a means of sharing living expenses. In convenient cohabitation, the romantic relationship develops from the couple's close contact. The two people have no intention of beginning a romantic relationship when they agree to live together.

Graphic Example