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The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Cohabitation Bill (650 SE) at its sitting on Wednesday.

The Bill, initiated by 40 members of the Riigikogu, gives the persons living in non-marital cohabitation the right to register their civil relationship and regulate their mutual legal relations as well as their legal relations with third persons. The scope of application of the Bill covers the procedure for entering into a cohabitation agreement, the rights and responsibilities of registered civil partners, and the bases for terminating the cohabitation agreement. The cohabitation agreement is certified by a notary. The agreement and the proprietary relationship chosen in the agreement will be entered in the register.

The Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Neeme Suur, who made a report, introduced the 23 motions to amend the Bill that were made during the second reading.

The definition of family has been introduced in the Bill. “This amendment came first of all from the feedback to the Bill, there were complaints that the Bill does not take into consideration the rights of children because it mainly regulates the mutual relations of registered partners, and it was asked where the child was,” Suur said.

Standards of judicial proceedings and also provisions concerning the right of succession were excluded from the Bill.

Suur said that a separate package of motions to amend concerned the renaming of the Marital Property Register to the Property Relations Register. “It would mean that the Marital Property Register Act should be amended by implementation provisions, because the property relationship chosen in cohabitation cannot be entered in the Marital Property Register as cohabitation is not a marriage,” explained Suur.

Neeme Suur also said that the amendment according to which sisters and brothers and half-sisters and half-brothers cannot enter into a cohabitation agreement was introduced to the Bill for the sake of clarity.

Suur said that in the interest of recognising of marriages concluded abroad, the Bill refers to the Private International Law Act.

The order of persons entitled to maintenance was introduced to the Bill. The Bill provides that the first person obliged to provide maintenance is the registered partner, before the relatives of the person. The provisions concerning the adoption of children were also clarified.

1 January 2016 has been established as the date of entering into force of the Cohabitation Act and its implementing legislation.

Valdo Randpere, Laine Randjärv, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Barbi Pilvre, Toomas Tõniste, Igor Gräzin, Marko Pomerants, Erki Nool, Jaak Allik, Maimu Berg, Siim Kiisler, Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Aivar Riisalu, Rait Maruste, Priit Sibul, Lembit Kaljuvee, Olga Sõtnik, Tarmo Tamm, Annely Akkermann, Viktor Vassiljev and Imre Sooäär took the floor in the debate in the course of the second reading.

The motion of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction to suspend the second reading of the Bill was not supported. 33 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion, 41 against it.

The Bill was sent to the third reading, which will take place on 9 October.

Photos of the sitting 

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) 

The Riigikogu Press Service