Civil Partnership & Certain Rights & Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010
The Civil Partnership & Certain Rights & Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010 became law on 19th of July, 2010.
The Act, firstly, provides for marital status of “civil partners” for same sex couples and, secondly, introduces protections and reliefs for all couples living together irrespective of their gender.
This important law provides:
a) Legal recognition for same sex couples in Ireland allowing them to register as civil partners.
b) Marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in areas of property, social welfare, maintenance, succession and tax.
c) Rights and protection for cohabiting couples (persons living as common law husband and wife whether of different sexes or same sexes).
A civil partnership is very like a civil marriage, in that the civil partnership only ends when one of the partners dies or the civil partnership is dissolved by the court. There are rules set out in the Act which deal with the formalities in relation to registering the civil partnership.
The Act also introduces a range of financial and property rights to include provision for maintenance, pension, inheritance entitlements.
If a civil partnership ends, then the parties can go to court and the court can make Orders very similar to those currently available to married couples in judicial separations or divorce.
The inheritance rights for civil partners are basically the same as those for married couples.
The aim of the Act is to protect the vulnerable or financially dependent party at the end of a long-term relationship. The reliefs available are extremely extensive and go as far as including Orders in relation to property, maintenance, pension and inheritance. The dependent partner has a right to go to court to seek these Orders.
The Act defines cohabitants as two same-sex or opposite-sex adults who are not married to each other, not the subject of a registered civil partnership, not related to each other and are two persons living together in an intimate and committed relationship as common law husband and wife. For partners who have children together they become eligible for relief as “qualifying cohabitants” after a period of two years living together. For couples without children they qualify for relief after a period of five years living together.
The Civil Partnership & Certain Rights & Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010 is now an important consideration for all couples living together and its implications are far reaching.
For comprehensive advice as to how civil partnership law may affect your personal situation, please contact us at Kevin O’Donovan & Partners Solicitors.
Telephone 027 51440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org