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Pensions on separation and divorce

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 extends 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 establishes a financial redress scheme for opposite sex and same-sex cohabiting couples who meet certain conditions.

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.