In Ireland, only the names of birth parents may be entered as parents on their child’s birth certificate. If you are the biological mother or father of a child, you cannot enter the name of your civil partner or same sex partner on the child’s birth certificate as parent, even if you intend to parent the child together. However it may be possible for same sex partners to give their child a double-barrelled surname using both of their surnames by way of making a special application to the General Registrar. In this situation the General Register’s Office would require:
- the consent of the biological father, where known
- consent of the non-birth parent (your partner)
- proof of a stable and committed relationship e.g. a civil partnership, qualified cohabitant, joint mortgage etc.
An alternative would be for the birth parent to change her own name by deed poll, or common usage, to a double barelled name using a combination of her own surname together with that of her partner. The double barelled name could then be used as a surname for the child.
Some care is required if the mother of the child is married. Where the mother is married, the law generally presumes that her husband is the father of the child, and ordinarily he will be registered as the father on the birth certificate. The law prevents the Registrar of Births from registering a person other than the mother’s husband as the father of the child unless one of the following conditions applies:
- the husband formally declares that he is not the father of the child
- the mother formally declares that she has been living apart from her husband for at least ten months ending immediately before the birth of the child
- by virtue of a divorce, judicial separation, annulment or a deed of separation
- there is a court order to the effect that someone other than the husband is the father of the child.
16 May 2019 Civil Registration Bill 2019 passed by Both Houses of the Oireachtas. This Bill, once enacted, allows both members of same-sex female relationship to register as parents and allows for other necessary changes to Civil Registration to allow both parents apply for Guardianship Rights. It must be noted, that this legislation will only apply to parents who have been assisted by registered services in becoming pregnant.
The Bill, once enacted, will also remove the necessity for a woman to contact an estranged husband when establishing paternity of her child with her new partner, the biological parent of her child.
In assessing means for social assistance purposes the means of both civil partners and same-sex cohabitants will be taken into account.
If you are on a social welfare payment you may be able to claim for your partner as a ‘qualified adult’ and/or for any children you may be parenting together as ‘qualified children’. See www.welfare.ie
Only civil partners, and not cohabitants, can claim for survivors’ benefits on the death of their partner. The Department of Social Protection has a useful Q&A section on its website. See www.welfare.ie/EN/Pages/CivilPartnershipFAQS.aspx
If you are parenting alone see money section on Treoir’s website to find out about payments that you may be entitled to.
Ante-natal (before birth) care and post-natal (after birth) care in the public health services are generally free to all women. In certain circumstances some charges may apply.
If you qualify you can get Maternity Benefit for 26 weeks of your Maternity Leave. See ‘money during pregnancy’ in the money section of Treoir’s website.
You are entitled to 26 weeks Maternity Leave no matter how recently you have started work or how many hours you work per week. You can also take an additional 16 weeks Maternity Leave, but you won’t get Maternity Benefit for these extra weeks.
If you qualify you can get Adoptive Benefit for 24 weeks from the date of placement of your child. The amount you will receive is the same as for Maternity Benefit. See ‘money during pregnancy’ in the money section of Treoir’s website.
If you are an adoptive mother or a sole male adopter you are entitled to 24 weeks Adoptive Leave no matter how recently you started work or how many hours you work per week. You can also take an additional 16 weeks Adoptive Leave, but you won’t get Adoptive Benefit for these extra weeks.
Paternity Benefit/Leave & Parental Leave
As a result of new legislation, fathers (‘relevant parents’) are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave and two weeks of paternity benefit for babies born on or after 1st September 2016. Fathers may start the combined package of paternity leave and paternity benefit at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child. The PRSI contribution conditions and the rate of benefit paid will be the same as those for Maternity Benefit (€230 per week). See here for further information.
A ‘relevant parent’ is:
- The father of the child;
- The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child;
- The parent of a child who is donor conceived;
- The spouse chosen by a married couple of the same sex to act as relevant parent;
- The spouse civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother; or
- The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the sole male adopter of the child.
The purpose of paternity leave is to allow the relevant parent to provide care to the child, or to provide assistance to the mother of the child, or the relevant adopting parent of the child.
A parent/adoptive parent or person who has a child dependent living with them (in loco parentis) is entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child. This leave can be taken in a single block, separate blocks or broken down into hours but must be agreed with your employer. The leave must be taken before the child is 8 years old. It is important to note that parental leave is available to a civil partner or same-sex partner in respect of a child whom he or she is co-parenting, even if he or she is not the biological parent of the child.
Civil Partners are treated as married for most tax purposes i.e. they are assessed jointly and are entitled to claim tax relief in respect of each other.
A surviving civil partner is exempt from Inheritance Tax on all assets he or she may inherit from the deceased civil partner.
A child of a civil partnership is entitled to a Group A tax free threshold in respect of inheritances received from either or both civil partners. The current tax-free threshold for Group A (2011) is €250,000. This is the same as for children of a marriage.
The following document contains comprehensive tax information (any amounts stated may have changed in recent budgets, please check) for Civil Partners.
Cohabitants are treated as single people and assessed individually for tax purposes and are not entitled to claim tax relief in respect of each other.
Cohabiting partners do not have automatic inheritance rights from each other.
If you are a qualified cohabitant you can apply for provision from the net estate of the deceased within six months after the probate or administration is first granted. An order under this section shall not affect the legal rights under the Succession Act 1965 of a surviving spouse or civil partner.
A surviving partner will pay tax at 30% on all assets over €16,604 s/he may inherit from his/her deceased partner.
A child of a biological parent is entitled to a Group A tax free threshold in respect of inheritance taken from his/her biological parent. The current tax-free threshold for Group A (2011) is €250,000. A child of a non-biological parent will pay inheritance tax at 30% on all assets received over €16,750.
Principal Residence Relief allows an individual to receive a gift or inheritance of a residential property free from capital acquisitions tax (CAT), popularly known as inheritance tax or gift tax, if the following conditions are met:
- The premises is/was the beneficiary’s principal private residence for three years prior to the gift or inheritance.
- The individual has no beneficial interest in any other residential property in the State.
- The individual remains living in the property for six years after the gift or inheritance. This does not apply if you are over 55 years of age.
The following document contains comprehensive tax information (any amounts stated may have changed in recent budgets, please check) for qualified cohabitants.
The Shared Parenting section of the Treoir website offers some helpful tips to parents whose relationship has ended. See this section for other useful publications on shared parenting. The booklet Family Links contains helpful information for parents who are helping their children understand their family situation.