The Rights of Relationships


Married couples
Most people getting married look forward to the actual wedding day and setting up home together, but the couple may not be as aware of the different legal ways of getting married, how marriage will change your legal status, legal prerequisites for marriage, notification requirements, the registration of marriage and getting married abroad.

Cohabiting couples
Cohabiting couples do not possess the same legal rights and obligations as married couples or civil partnerships in Irish law. This has important implications for a number of areas in your life -including: inheritance rights, property ownership, custody and guardianship of children, adoption and fostering.

Same-sex relationships
It is now possible for same-sex couples to become legally married and to have the same rights and obligations towards each other as opposite-sex married couples. It is also possible for a couple in a civil partnership to marry. The rights of cohabiting same-sex couples are similar to the rights of cohabiting opposite-sex couples.

Separation, divorce and dissolution
The end of a marriage or a civil partnership is a difficult and traumatic process. Please contact Pierse Fitzgibbon on the legal options following a marital breakdown and the legal options following a civil partnership breakdown, such as divorce, judicial separation, separation agreements and dissolution. We can provide advice and information on what happens the family or shared home and maintenance agreements.

Where grandparents are having difficulty in maintaining contact with their grandchild, they can apply for access to the child through the District Court. Access can also be applied for if a child is in the care of the HSE.
Any relative, including a grandparent, can apply to the court for custody of a child. The court will not normally make an order for custody without the consent of the child’s guardians. However, it may dispense with the consent if it is satisfied that it is in the best interest of the child to make the order. If the grandparents are the main carers of the child and the child is not being properly maintained financially by either or both parents, the grandparents can apply to the District Court for a maintenance order.

A parent can nominate a person (including a grandparent) to act as a guardian if the parent is unable, through serious illness or injury, to exercise their guardianship rights. Where parents die without making a will appointing someone to act as guardian of their child, the grandparents can apply to the District Court.

 Please contact us should you require further advice