The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations Act, 2010 established a redress scheme for qualified cohabitants which may be activated at the end of a relationship or upon the death of one of the parties. This Act will automatically apply unless cohabitants have together agreed to opt out of the provisions of the Act.
A qualified cohabitant refers to two adults living together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who cohabit for a period of (i ) two years or more if they are parents to a child or (ii ) five years or more in any other case.
When such a relationship ends an economically dependent qualified cohabitant may seek redress. A Court has power to grant orders in respect of property, pension, and maintenance to an economically dependent qualified cohabitant.
The Court will consider numerous matters including financial circumstances and earning capacity of each party, rights and entitlements of any spouse/former spouse or dependent children, duration of the parties’ relationship, contributions made in looking after the shared home, any physical or mental disability of a cohabitant, and conduct of each party. Further, the Court will not make any order which would affect the rights of any spouse or former spouse of either cohabitant.
An application for redress must be brought within two years of the relationship ending, whether by death or otherwise.
This column is prepared by Dolores Gacquin, solicitor. Byrne Carolan Cunningham have offices in Athlone, Moate, and Lanesborough.
A person should always contact their solicitor to obtain legal advice specific to their own situation. The above column contains general information and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.