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Pensions on separation and divorce

Same-sex marriage, civil partners and qualified cohabitants

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 entered into force on 1 January 2011. It extended marriage-like benefits to same sex couples in registered civil partnerships in the areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax. It also established a financial redress scheme for opposite-sex and same-sex cohabiting couples who meet certain conditions. Since the commencement of the Marriage Act 2015 on 16 November 2015, no new civil partnerships can be registered. The introduction of the Marriage Act 2015 made it possible for same-sex couples to get legally married and to have the same rights and obligations towards each other as opposite-sex married couples.

Where a decree of dissolution of a civil partnership is granted, either civil partner may apply for a PAO in respect of retirement benefits and a PAO in respect of contingent benefits under the pension arrangement of which the other civil partner is a member, in a manner broadly similar to that applying under the Family Law Acts to spouses.

Qualified cohabitants can apply for a PAO in respect of retirement benefits and contingent benefits at the end of their relationship whether this occurs by way of break up or death.

There is no provision for the making of an order in favour of a dependent member of the family.