How is joint property divided if the marriage was never registered?1
Cohabiting parties are independent in both personal and property relations, which is different from legal marriage relations. Naturally, the legal matrimonial property division rules shall not be applicable, and any property acquired during cohabitation cannot be presumed to be common property. The property acquired during cohabitation shall not be taken as a presumed joint property. It shall be considered from the standpoint of non-marital subjects. However, we shall also consider the fact of the other party's labor contribution and loss of opportunities in the sense of fairness and humanity.
The cohabitation relationship is different from a legally established marriage relationship. During the period of cohabitation, one party's salary, bonus, income from work, donations, as well as income from inheritance, shall be owned separately as a general principle. In the situation where both parties jointly purchased or owned the property during the cohabitation period, it shall be decided that the property shall be recognized as joint property, and the ownership of the property shall be shared according to the proportion of their respective capital contributions. If it is impossible to find further out whether the ownership of the property is shared proportionately or jointly, the shares shall be deemed to be distributed proportionately, and if the proportion of capital contribution cannot be determined, the shares shall be considered to be shared equally.