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Common Law Wife's Rights

With a Common Law wife, how long before they become entitled to their partner’s estate? J in Limerick.

Hi J.  Never is the simple answer – we don’t have a system of “palimony” in Ireland, as they do in some states in the US.  This exclusion in Irish Law applies whether or not the common law husband is still alive or has passed away.

 

There is a “but” to this and if the common law wife is led to a belief that she would be looked after, such as a promise to include her in a pension, then this is a separate issue and may give rise to a claim. 

 

It largely depends on what promises were made and how long the common law wife has been living with the man. Equally, how much did the woman give up at the start of the relationship (career, resources etc). Competent advice from a specialist Family Law solicitor would be advised.

 

Just on an equality note, the reverse is also the case – a dependent common law husband may have a claim in the limited circumstances mentioned above against a financially active and wealthy common law wife.

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