31 March 2015

A Practical Guide to the Law on Civil Partnership

The introduction of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of  Cohabitants Act 2010 provided for the creation of two separate schemes, namely:-

  1. A Civil Partnership Scheme
  2. A Cohabitation Scheme

Civil Partnership

With effect form January 2011, this Act created for the first time in the State a legally recognised relationship for same sex couples.

Comparison to Marriage

Although without the same constitutional protection as marriage, the rights and obligations of civil partners are in most instances, the same or similar to those of married couples.

In particular, Taxation, Succession and Shared Home Protection provisions are based closely on those for marriage.

The most notable and controversial difference relates to the issue of children. Civil Partners are not entitled to adopt jointly and the Act provides very few rights for the Civil Partner of the child’s parent.


The process of dissolving a partnership is considerably simpler than that of divorce.

We can prepare the necessary documentation to make an application to the Court for a dissolution of same.

Before granting a Decree of Dissolution the court must be satisfied that;

  1. The parties have been living apart for two out of the previous three years
  2. Proper provision has been made for each partner


Unlike divorce there is no requirement to demonstrate an absence of reasonable prospect of reconciliation, or to show that alternative resolutions e.g. Mediation have been considered.

However, it is important to note that the ancillary relief Orders available to the Court are almost identical to those in Divorce proceedings e.g. Financial Compensation Orders, Lump Sum Orders and Maintenance Orders.

The Act also allows for separation agreements to be submitted to the Court which the judge may consider before making any Orders.

Drafting such an agreement is advisable as it enables the parties to agree to the terms of their own dissolution.

If you require any more information on this area, please contact our family law specialist Caoimhe Connolly.