The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Coinhabitants Act 2010

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Co-Habitants Act 2010 came into effect on the 1st January 2011.

The Act provides a statutory civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples. It provides a range of rights, obligations and protections consequent on registration and sets out the manner in which civil partnerships may be dissolved and under what conditions.                                    .

A redress scheme is established for opposite sex and same-sex co-habiting couples who are not married or registered in a civil partnership.  A qualifying cohabitant is defined as a person who has lived with another for 2 years or more in the case where they are the parents of one or more dependent children, or 5 years or more, in any other case. The period for which people lived together prior to the commencement of the legislation may be taken into account in determining if a couple are “qualifying cohabitants.” The” redress scheme” may be availed of at the end of a relationship whether by break-up or death. A financially dependent co-habitant may apply to Court for certain remedies including maintenance, property or pension adjustment orders or seek provision from the estate of a deceased co-habitant.  

Express provision is made for the recognition of co-habitant agreements which regulate the shared financial affairs of co-habiting couples. This enables couples to opt out of the redress scheme.    

Unlike the redress scheme the Civil Partnership registration scheme is only available to persons of the same sex. It provides for the same sex couple to become “civil partners” upon registration. Registration confers legal status with statutory rights and obligations. The Act does not confer these automatic rights upon the co-habiting couple, but instead it creates the redress scheme that may be activated at the end of a relationship by death or otherwise.

The legislation has a significant effect on succession law. In addition to the implications of the redress scheme for estates it substantially amends the Succession Act 1965. It introduces inheritance rights for civil partners equivalent to but not identical to  those of spouses regarding both the legal right share on testate succession and the rules for distribution on intestacy.


Capital Acquisition Tax Thresholds

The Capital Acquisition Tax Thresholds for benefits taken from 1st January, 2011 to 31st December, 2011 are;
Group I - €332,084
Group II - €33,208
Group III - €16,604

The rate of tax has increased from 20% to 25%, for benefits taken on or after 20th November, 2008.

Section 47 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 2008

Permits any business tenant to contract out of his renewal rights provided he receives independent legal advice and completes a waiver document prior to the commencement date of the tenancy. Previously this had applied only to tenants of office premises.

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