Unmarried Couples Solicitors Ireland

Blanchardstown, Castleknock, 27 Mount Street Upper, Dublin City Centre

Unmarried Couples Solicitors based in Dublin City Centre

Many couples now do not get married but opt to live together such as Cohabiting Couples, akin to what is often referred to as common law husband and wife. They live de facto as spouses although their relationship was never formalised by a legal marriage.

The impact of separation on the ownership of property and other assets is a complex area of law in non marital breakdown and while it is very common for partners to purchase property together unless you have clearly defined in a Cohabitation Agreement setting out what will happen, these matters can take time to unravel and deal with the financial consequences.

There can be different types of input and contributions both financial and non-financial to a relationship and the impact of these contributions to property can be relevant.  Amidst all of the varying emotions of a relationship breakdown can bring, it is vital that you have a clear understanding of the law and the options available to you as only then can you have the benefit of clarity to assist you in making important financial decisions.

Carmody Moran’s expert family solicitors, are also experienced in property and litigation, and are highly experienced in providing clear and straightforward advice in relation to property disputes between unmarried couples or civil partnerships, including potential claims you or your partner may have and dealing with joint mortgages and other co-ownership issues.

You may hear many stories and myths regarding an unmarried partner’s entitlements on separation. Contrary to popular media culture, there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ marriage. Under Irish law does not currently allow unmarried partners on separation to make financial claims in the same way as a married partner can under the Separation or Divorce legislation however cohabitants can access remedies under the Cohabitant’s Act.

A redress scheme was introduced under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (“Cohabitants Act”) to provide for cohabiting couples who live together in an intimate and committed relationship (whether of the same sex or the opposite sex) who are not married to each other or civil partners of each other. The redress scheme provides for a broadly similar range of orders as are available to married couples when they separate or divorce.

The Act aims is to provide protection for a financially dependent member of a couple if a long-term cohabiting relationship ends either through death or separation. It applies to both same sex and opposite sex couples who have been in an intimate relationship.

A financially dependent cohabitant may be able to apply to the courts for redress if the relationship ends as the result of death or otherwise. In order to apply for redress a person must be a qualified cohabitant must have been:

  • A cohabitant for at least 5 years or
  • A cohabitant for 2 years if they have had a child/children together

However, a person is not a qualified cohabitant if:

(a) one or both of the adults is or was, at any time during the relationship concerned, an adult who was married to someone else, and

(b) at the time the relationship concerned ends, each adult who is or was married has not lived apart from his or her spouse for a period or periods of at least 4 years during the previous 5 years.

There are strict time limits to make an application for this type of relief, and it is an entitlement to claim relief as distinct to an entitlement to a share like in the normal family marital situation under the Judicial Separation or Divorce laws. That said, essentially the Cohabitants Act is there to provide redress to the common law spouse and the non marital family. It is a complex area of law and can affect a wide range of assets.

At Carmody Moran Solicitors in Dublin City Centre we know that in addition to having your case handled by experienced professionals with the highest level of expertise and sensitivity, that cost is a serious factor, as well as the value of expert and early legal advice. That is why you can arrange to have an initial Consultation in family law matters for a reduced fee and this gives you an opportunity to review your situation and ask the expert questions regarding your specific circumstances.

In the course of this one-hour consultation with an experienced qualified family law Solicitor, your initial options will be assessed and advised upon as well as practical advice furnished to try to assist and alleviate your current situation. Your Solicitor will be able to advise you of your options and future costs and you can then decide how you wish to proceed.

Call the office in Dublin City Centre on 00-353-1-8272888 to make an appointment to meet and discuss civil partnerships with our divorce solicitors Ireland or use the quick enquiry form here.

Frequently Asked Questions of our Unmarried Couples / Family Law Solicitors in Dublin, Ireland

Do unmarried couples have rights in Ireland?

Cohabitating couples Ireland

You may hear many stories and myths regarding an unmarried partner’s entitlements on separation. Contrary to popular media culture, there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ marriage. Under Irish law does not currently allow unmarried partners on separation to make financial claims in the same way as a married partner can under the Separation or Divorce legislation however cohabitants can access remedies under the Cohabitant’s Act and in this way unmarried couples in Ireland can have legal recourse.

A redress scheme was introduced under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (“Cohabitants Act”) to provide for cohabiting couples who live together in an intimate and committed relationship (whether of the same sex or the opposite sex) who are not married to each other or civil partners of each other. The redress scheme provides for a broadly similar range of orders as are available to married couples when they separate or divorce.

The Act aims is to provide protection for a financially dependent member of a couple if a long-term cohabiting relationship ends either through death or separation. It applies to both same sex and opposite sex couples who have been in an intimate relationship.

My partner has died but we were not married, what rights to I have?

A financially dependent cohabitant may be able to apply to the courts for redress if the relationship ends as the result of death or otherwise. In order to apply for redress a person must be a qualified cohabitant must have been:

  • A cohabitant for at least 5 years or
  • A cohabitant for 2 years if they have had a child/children together

However, a person is not a qualified cohabitant if:

(a) one or both of the adults is or was, at any time during the relationship concerned, an adult who was married to someone else, and

(b) at the time the relationship concerned ends, each adult who is or was married has not lived apart from his or her spouse for a period or periods of at least 4 years during the previous 5 years.

There are strict time limits to make an application for this type of relief, and it is an entitlement to claim relief as distinct to an entitlement to a share like in the normal family marital situation under the Judicial Separation or Divorce laws. That said, essentially the Cohabitants Act is there to provide redress to the common law spouse and the non marital family. It is a complex area of law and can affect a wide range of assets.

How do you split assets when you are not married?

In each case the situation will be different.

If you can reach direct agreement then clearly that is simplest.  If however you have considerable financial ties and personal commitments, such as the care of young children, matter can be more complex.  There may be mortgages to be resolved as well as child care and access issues and child maintenance / financial support.

What rights do I have if I split up with my partner?

The law does protect cohabitating couples and relationship breakdown by virtue of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (“Cohabitants Act”). In such instance a family law consultation for early legal advice to review the best way forward is advisable. There can be recourse to the Court explored and/or negotiations to resolve matters.

If matters are straight forward and no other parties effected, then a decision to sell, or purchase out the interest of the other party and procure a mortgage release in relation to a property may be readily achievable and negotiated. Again, early legal advice makes sure that you know where you stand before entering into any discussions or agreements and best protects your position.

Can a live in partner claim half the house?

In this scenario I am presuming you are the sole registered legal owner of the house.   Since the introduction of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (“Cohabitants Act”) a non owning partner can make a claim against a property in which they live within the framework of the Act, if they qualify.

Prior to the Cohabitant’s Act such a claim could also be made under the Court’s equitable jurisdiction at common law.  Yes, a claim is possible, to discuss how the principles of family law apply to your case in such a scenario individual legal advice is recommended.

How do you split up when you have a house together?

If you do not have direct agreement with you former partner, this can be tricky, and early legal advice on your particular situation can be helpful. This is particularly so as frequently there are third party considerations such as a mortgage to be addressed.

In advance of consulting a family law solicitor for such a meeting it is useful to have a rough idea of:

  • The purchase price of the property
  • Who contributed what to the purchase price (deposit, mortgage etc.)
  • What is the current value of the property
  • What is the current amount of the mortgage outstanding.
Is my unmarried partner entitled to half the house under Irish law?

This will depend on a variety of circumstances including the type of ownership you entered into when you purchased (joint ownership, as joint tenants or tenants in common), or if the property is in sole ownership, various contributions to the property, and the current financial relationship between the parties.

Even if in theory both parties are entitled to a 50 / 50 share of the property in practice, there may have to be negotiations between both sides to reach an equitable settlement and or deal with mortgages and /or debt resolution.  Often an early consultation for legal advice to establish the legal position before you enter into negotations is very helpful, then you can move forward with some confidence as to where you stand and what are the likely outcomes in the event of a dispute.

Who gets the house when an unmarried couple splits up in Ireland?

Again, this can be a difficult situation to navigate. The options are for one person to remain in the house, and the other to buy out the interest of the other, or reach agreement on how to remain in the house, or to sell the house and agree division of it.

Outside of the mortgage, there may be other financial responsibilites at play if one party is or was financially dependent on the other party, or if there are young children and their housing to consider.

An early consultation for expert family law advice here will help review what matters there are to be addressed and how best to proceed.

In advance of consulting a family law solicitor for such a meeting it is useful to have a rough idea of:

  • The purchase price of the property
  • Who contributed what to the purchase price (deposit, mortgage etc.)
  • What is the current value of the property
  • What is the current amount of the mortgage outstanding.

Where there additional matters to be resolved such as issues regarding children and broader financial considerations, this will be a family law consultation, and will discuss issues beyond just property law. We will furnish you with an instruction sheet to help you gather the information that will need to be reviewed to guide you on your situation.

Your Expert Divorce Claims Legal Team in Ireland

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced Divorce Solicitors Ireland are on hand to advise and skilled in handling all nature of divorce.

The two partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty five years professional legal experience. Together with their associates they aim to make the Court process as straight forward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients concerns and worries about going through the Court process.

Anthony-Carmody-Solicitor-Dublin

Anthony Carmody

Partner

Anthony Carmody is one of the founding Partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors.

He has significant experience in personal injury cases and general litigation having handled literally thousands of cases on behalf of clients based in Ireland and abroad.

Niamh-Moran-Family-Law-Solicitor-Dublin

Niamh Moran

Partner

Niamh Moran is one of the founding partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors and is a solicitor with wide ranging experience across all areas of general practice.

Niamh manages the family lawconveyancing in Dublin, and probate divisions of the practice. Niamh’s practice of law is extremely varied and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by clients and colleagues alike.

*While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and it affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about you personally and it is not intended as legal advice. We will not be liable to you if you rely on this information. In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

You should note that no solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between Carmody Moran Solicitors and you until you have received a written letter of engagement from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.

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Very professional experienced team who run a friendly and efficient practice. I found them to be very astute and knowledgeable in our discussions about Litigation. Their advice made me rethink my actions and helped me settle an issue without any unnecessary actions or outlays.
Response from the owner: Dear Michael. Thank you for your positive review of our legal services at Carmody Moran Solicitors, Blanchardstown office. We will always do our utmost to ensure that we meet our client's expectations and to give them prompt and practical legal advice in all our areas of legal practice whether that be family law, property sales and purchases, probate or litigation. I have passed on your comments to the team and they are all delighted that you were happy with our legal service to you. Best regards, Tony, Niamh and all the team at Carmody Moran Solicitors, Blanchardstown.
We recently purchased our house through Carmody Moran and they were great to deal with. They were there each step of the way and really helped close the purchase within a short time frame. Thanks for everything!
Response from the owner: Dear Benjamin. Thank you so much for the positive review of our property purchase service through our Blanchardstown office. We all hope that you have settled well into your new home! Best regards, Niamh Moran and all the team at Carmody Moran Solicitors
Carmody Moran performed the conveyancing for my apartment purchase. My solicitor Caila Ryan was extremely diligent and professional. She did a great job guiding me through the process and offering advice. I really appreciated all of the documentation she provide me with. I would have no hesitation in recommending them.
Response from the owner: Dear Ciaran, I passed on the very welcome and positive review of our solicitor, Caila Ryan's assistance to you when buying your apartment. It is always great to hear back such positive feedback of our property purchase services and thanks for taking the time to do so. Best regards, Niamh Moran and all the team at Carmody Moran Solicitors.
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