Family Law

Civil Partnerships

Civil partnerships are partnerships which can be registered under the Civil Registration Act, 2004 on application by two persons of the same sex.

A court can grant a decree dissolving a civil partnership where:

  • at the date of institution of the proceedings, the partners have lived apart from one another for a period of at least two years during the previous three years;
  • and provision that the court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exists or will be made for the civil partners.

Rights of Civil Partners

Once a Civil Partnership has been registered each of the partners acquires rights, including:

  1. (a) The shared home in which the Civil Partners ordinarily live will be subject to protection similar to that which applies in the case of married couples so that generally it is not possible for the partner who owns the home
    to dispose of it without the prior consent in writing of the other partner.
  2. (b) A court can on application make a maintenance order requiring one civil partner to provide maintenance to the other. These orders can be enforced by the court
  3. (c) The Act provides the right to inherit on civil partners, similar to that of a surviving spouse. If the deceased leaves a civil partner and no children, the surviving civil partner’s legal right is to 50% of the estate. If the deceased has left children then the surviving partner’s share is to one-third of the estate. In case of intestacy if the deceased leaves a civil partner and no issue, the civil partner inherits the entire estate. Provision is included to permit a child of the deceased civil partner to make a court application within six months of the date of extraction of a grant of representation to the deceased’s estate seeking an enlarged share.

The court can make a range of financial orders on granting a dissolution of a civil partnership, similar to those which may be granted on the separation of married couple, including:

  • maintenance orders
  • property adjustments order
  • financial compensation orders (provision by way of insurance arrangement)
  • pension adjustment orders
  • property adjustment orders for sale of property or relating to occupation of property
  • orders providing for a surviving civil partner from the estate of a deceased former partner.

The Act also contains provision for a civil partnership to be annulled.

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