A woman sought an order from the High Court that she qualified as a cohabitant as she had been in a committed, exclusive relationship with a man for several years and therefore sought orders for property adjustment, pension adjustment and provision from the man’s estate.

The High Court judge ruled that the applicant fell short of establishing that she was a qualifying cohabitant within the meaning of section 172 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, because she could not establish that the deceased had separated from his wife for four of the previous five years. The deceased man had spent a considerable time in his wife’s home despite the extramarital affair with the applicant.

It was submitted to the court that the deceased’s wife was aware of the extramarital relationship and that the husband and wife did not have a monogamous marriage. She claimed that she never broke up with her husband and that they lived together up to the time of his death. She claimed that she and her husband lived as husband and wife and their relationship was not celibate.

The applicant claimed that she and the deceased started their relationship in 2012 and they were living together at the applicant’s address by the end of 2012.  She added further that they went on holidays together, that the deceased man’s marriage was hostile, and that the applicant and the deceased held themselves out as a couple.

The court was not assisted with factual disputes as set out in the affidavits and oral evidence between the parties.

The court refused to make a declaration that the applicant was a qualified cohabitant of the deceased and all other reliefs were refused.

Z v. Y [2022] IEHC 583