LIVE TOGETHER

Publishes by The Daily Star on July 31, 2010 (Link Over)

This week your advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Head of ‘The Legal Counsel’. His professional interests include commercial law, corporate law, family law, land law, constitutional law, banking law, arbitration and intellectual property laws. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.

Reader’s query
I have a live-in relationship with my partner and we are as committed as any married couple. Few days ago my partner suddenly fell sick and I got him admitted in a hospital. But now the hospital authority would not allow me to visit him, as I am not his wife. Please advise regarding what I can do? Obviously I don’t want to lie about our relationship, which is very sacred to me. Please advise.

The significant other

Response
Thank you very much for your query. I understand that you and your partner are living together as married couple without getting wedded to each other. While this practice is very widespread in many western countries where man and woman live together as a prelude to or substitution of marriage, it is not at all common in our country. In the western world, for example, in the USA and in most of the European countries living together is legally allowed and acceptable and hence such relationship gives rise to several legal rights. This is not only lawful but also socially acceptable there.

However, both the social and legal the situation are entirely the reverse here. In our country, the family law is personal and hence governed by the respective religions of the persons. None of the religions practiced in Bangladesh recognise ‘living together’ without marriage; rather this is considered as unlawful and prohibited. Consequently, the relationship that you have may be sacred to you but the same has no legal or social acceptability or recognition in Bangladesh. If you are really committed to each other, I don’t see any reason why you shall not get married! Furthermore, any child that you may give birth out of this relationship will not be recognised as a legitimate child and none of you have any right of inheritance or any other kind of right on each other. In fact your relationship has no legal or social recognition whatsoever in our country. The general moral standard of our country does not also support your standing. I do not foresee even the bizarre likelihood of legalising the same in our country yet in the remote future. I hope that this has clarified your concern and will help you decide your next appropriate course of action.

For detailed query contact omar@legalcounselbd.com.