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Is living together legal in Nepal?

Living together, also known as cohabitation, is the practice of two people who are not married to each other sharing a household and a sexual relationship. Living together is becoming more common and acceptable in many parts of the world, especially among young and urban people. However, in Nepal, living together is still a controversial and sensitive issue that raises moral, social, and legal questions.

Living together is not a new phenomenon in Nepal. In some ethnic groups and regions, such as the Nyinba of Humla district and the Loba of Upper Mustang region, living together has been a traditional and customary practice for centuries. These groups practice fraternal polyandry, where a woman lives with two or more brothers as her husbands. They do so for economic and social reasons, such as preserving land and property, controlling population growth, and ensuring family welfare.

However, living together in the modern sense of the term is a relatively recent and emerging trend in Nepal. It is influenced by various factors, such as globalization, urbanization, education, migration, media exposure, individualism, and changing values and attitudes. More and more people are choosing to live together for various reasons, such as love, convenience, experimentation, freedom, or rebellion.

Living together is often seen as an alternative or a precursor to marriage. Some people may live together to test their compatibility and commitment before getting married. Some people may live together to avoid the hassles and expenses of marriage. Some people may live together because they do not believe in marriage or do not have the legal right to marry, such as queer people.

However, living together also comes with its own challenges and risks. Living together may face social stigma and discrimination from family, friends, or society. Living together may also face legal issues and complications regarding property rights, inheritance rights, child custody rights, alimony rights, or citizenship rights. Living together may also lack emotional security and stability compared to marriage.

So, is living together legal in Nepal? The answer is not very clear or straightforward. There is no specific law or provision that regulates or recognizes living together in Nepal. However, there are some laws or provisions that indirectly or partially deal with living together in Nepal.

One such provision is Article 74 of the Civil Code 2074 BS (2017 AD), which states that if a man and a woman who are not married to each other live together for at least three years with mutual consent and understanding as husband and wife, they shall be deemed to have been married according to this Code. This provision implies that living together can be considered as a valid form of marriage after a certain period of time.

Another such provision is Article 75 of the same Code, which states that if a man and a woman who are not married to each other have a child from their sexual relationship with mutual consent and understanding as husband and wife, they shall be deemed to have been married according to this Code. This provision implies that living together can be considered as a valid form of marriage if there is a child involved.

These provisions seek to protect the rights and interests of the children and women who are born or involved in living together relationships. They also seek to prevent fraud and deception in living together relationships. However, they also have some limitations and drawbacks. They do not apply to living together relationships that do not last for three years or do not produce a child. They do not apply to living together relationships that involve queer people or multiple partners. They do not address the issues of consent, violence, abuse, or exploitation that may occur in living together relationships.

Therefore, living together is not explicitly illegal in Nepal, but it is also not fully legal or protected in Nepal. It is a grey area that needs more clarity and recognition from the law and society. Living together is a personal choice that should be respected and supported by others. However, it is also a responsible choice that should be made with awareness and caution by those who practice it.


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