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A. The absence of factual marriage in Hong Kong

A couple in Hong Kong could only be validly married in accordance with the Marriage Ordinance (Cap. 181) since 7th October 1971. Hong Kong does not embrace the concept of factual marriage, which stands for a couple factually living and holding out as husband and wife but has not gone through the formalities of registering or celebrating their marriage according to the existing legal framework. Regardless of the duration of cohabitation, if the cohabitant couples do not celebrate their marriage and go through all the formalities required by law, they are not treated as married and their scope of “spousal” rights in areas of tax, pension, medical and public housing would not be compatible to those enjoyed by married couples.


Currently there are laws protecting a party to a de facto relationship in terms of domestic violence, but no financial protection is provided to the partner unless there are children, and it is for the benefit of the children but not maintenance to the partner.