Family Law Spotlight: Recent Cases
Right of Cohabitees – Breakup of Unmarried Couples
A recent circuit court judgment awarded a woman about 10% of her former partner’s €26m fortune. Despite legislation on the rights of cohabitees being in force since 2011, this is one of the first headline cases of its kind in the courts. The relationship spanned about 25 years and the woman was found by the court to have been “particularly vulnerable” since the breakup. However, she was not awarded the same stake in her partner’s assets as she would have gotten if she had been married. This case highlights the rights of cohabitants in a breakup and also the difference between cohabiting couples and married couples.
D v D
This decision moved away from the previous T v T case and revisited the division of assets between divorcing couples. The Supreme Court ruled that when dealing with the division of assets, inherited assets should be looked at differently as opposed to assets which have developed throughout the marriage. This was essentially an acknowledgement from the Supreme Court that when it comes to land or property handed down in generations such as farmlands that a different approach should be taken when dealing with a marriage breakup.
The area on costs for legal proceedings here is also very relevant and we are currently awaiting on what could be a new direction from the Supreme Court on the issue of costs in a divorce.