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When: Apr 22, 13
Where: Family Law, Mortgages, Probate, Uncategorized, Wills
Who: Staff
With: No Comments »

Cohabitants are defined in the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Co-Habitants Act, 2010 as two same sex or opposite sex adults who are living together in an intimate and committed relationship, not married to each other or in a registered civil partnership and not related.  Couples considering buying a property together will be aware of the financial and emotional commitment involved.  Difficult as it may be, consideration must also be made to the implications of a possible break down in the relationship on property ownership or the consequences of the death of a partner.

Where one partner already owns or buys a property and the couple are living in that property, the property is owned by the person who has legal title.  If your name is not on the title deeds but you have contributed directly or indirectly to the property you may be able to show that you have some ownership rights.  Direct contributions include, for example, contributing towards the mortgage repayments or the purchase price.  You must show that such payments were made with the intention of gaining a share in the ownership of the house and were not given to the legal owner as a gift.  Indirect contributions may include paying household expenses.

Where there is a  financially dependent partner in a relationship and the couple separate, the financially dependent partner may be able to claim under a redress scheme provided for by legislation to protect that financially dependent partner.  In order to apply for redress you must meet the criteria of a “qualified cohabitant” that is that you must be co habiting for a least 5 years or at least 2 years if you have a child with your partner.  There are a number of orders for which a qualified cohabitant can apply to the court including maintenance orders, pension adjustment orders and property adjustment orders.  Such orders must generally be applied for within 2 years of the end of a relationship.

It is still the case that if you are in a cohabiting relationship and die without making a will your partner does not have a right to a share of your estate, except where property is held jointly.  If you come within the definition of a qualified cohabitant, you may be able to apply for provision from the estate of a deceased partner within 6 months of applying for a grant of probate.  It is advisable to make a will to ensure that your wishes are carried out.  If you are a cohabiting couple and thinking about buying a property or already own a property, then our experienced solicitors can advise you as to the eventualities which may arise and how best to give effect to your wishes into the future.

For more information on this topic or any other issue arising please contact us at


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