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The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Co-Habitants Act, 2010 came into effect on January 1st 2011 and gives rights to partners who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship.

It is extremely important for co-habitants to be aware of this legislation as many co-habitants fall under the terms of this legislation without even realising it.

What is a Co-Habitant?

The Act defines a co-habitant as one of two adults whether of the same of opposite sex who “live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other”. Therefore, a co-habitant is a man and woman living together as a couple who are not married or a same sex couple living together who are not civilly partnered (see below re civil partners).

Under the legislation a “qualified co-habitant” can make application for redress under the Act.

What is a “qualified co-habitant”?

A “qualified co-habitant” is “an adult who was in a relationship of cohabitation (see above) with another adult and who was immediately before the time that the relationship ended, whether through death or otherwise, was living with the other adult as a couple for a period:

a. of 2 years or more in the case where they are parents of one or more dependent children and
b. 5 years or more in any other case”

However, if at the time the cohabitant relationship ends you or your partner was or is married to another person and they have not divorced or are not entitled to a divorce then you will not be deemed to be a “qualified co-habitant”.

If one of the adults in the qualified cohabitant relationship can prove that to the Court that he/she is financially dependent on the other adult then the Court can make orders re property, maintenance, pensions, succession rights etc.

Any such application for redress must be applied for to the Court within 2 years of the relationship ending.

What if we don’t want the legislation to apply to our relationship?

If both parties agree that they do not want to be bound by the terms of the legislation then both parties can enter into what is known as a “Co-habitants Agreement” to provide for financial matters during the relationship and when/if the relationship ends.

It is extremely important that if you are concerned about the implications of the new legislation or wish to enter into a Co-habitants Agreement that you attend with your Solicitor for further information on the Act.

At Cashin & Associates, we have in excess of 25 years experience in family law and can offer full and comprehensive advice to cohabitants. If you wish to discuss the implications of the Act, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Cashin & Associates Solicitors,
3 Francis Street, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland
Dublin Office: 64 Francis Street, Dublin 8
T: 00 353 65 6840060  F: 00 353 65 6840034