Part 15 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 provides for a redress scheme for opposite-sex and same-sex cohabiting couples who are not married or registered in a civil partnership as the case may be.
This redress scheme may be activated at the end of a relationship, whether by break-up or death, and allows a financially dependent cohabitant to apply to court for a broadly similar range of orders as are available to married couples when they separate or divorce, including maintenance orders, property adjustment orders, and pension adjustment orders and related orders such as attachment of earnings orders. The aim is to provide protection for a financially dependent member of the couple if a long-term cohabiting relationship ends either through death or separation. The Act came into effect on 1 January 2011.
Section 194 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 provides that a qualified cohabitant may, after the death of his/her cohabitant, but not more than 6 months after representation has first been granted under the Succession Act 1965 in respect of the cohabitant's estate, apply to the court for an order for provision out of the deceased cohabitant's net estate. It is a matter for the court, having regard to all of the circumstances of the case, to decide whether or not to make such an order.
General taxation issues are a matter for the Minister for Finance and issues relating to entitlement to pensions are a matter for the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.