8 What does the law provide for the property of registered and non-registered partners?

For registered partnerships (in Belgian law: cohabitation légale/wettelijke samenwoning), each of the partners retains the assets of which he/she can prove the ownership. An undivided estate is created that is composed of the assets of which neither of the two partners can prove the ownership (Art. 1478 CC). In the case of unregistered partnerships (In Belgian law: cohabitation de fait/feitelijke samenwoning), there exist only the two separate estates of the partners.

For each debt that is entered into by one of the registered partners for the purpose of the cohabitation, the other partner is also jointly and severally liable (Art. 1477 CC). This is not the case for an unregistered partnership.

Upon the death of one of the partners, the surviving partner from a registered partnership receives the usufruct of the real estate that serves the family as common residence including the household assets (Art. 745octies CC). This is not the case for an unregistered partnership.

Registered partners and de facto cohabitants can regulate their partnership by means of an agreement. In conformity with Article 1478 in fine CC, such agreements must be established by notarial act.