Cohabitation on the rise in Iran

family law

Many young Iranian couples are living together outside of marriage despite the fact that the practice is illegal.

Cohabitation was once referred to as ‘white marriage’ in the Islamic Republic, but is now called ‘black coupling’ according to a sociologist in the country. He spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on the condition that he would not be identified. He said that more couples were choosing to take the risk of illegally living together.

One reason for this trend could be the uneven nature of Iranian marriage contracts he suggested. Currently “most of the conditions contained in marriage contracts are in favour of men” who can control their wife’s travel, employment and education. If a married couple separates, men have more divorce rights than women he continued. By living together couples may experience a greater sense of equality in their relationship.

However there are significant drawbacks to such arrangements he explained. If a woman in Iran were the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her partner she would not have any legal form of protection. In fact she would most likely be questioned by authorities about her marital status “and if she is not legally married, she will be in a lot of trouble”.

Government officials have been outspoken in their opposition to ‘black coupling’. Iranian presidential adviser Seyed Reza Salehi Amir called the practice a “malady” and a “serious blow to the family”.

Last year, the Iranian government banned a women’s magazine from further publication because they thought it had encouraged couples to live together.

Photo by Andrew Kudrin via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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