Cohabitant and qualified cohabitant.
172.— (1) For the purposes of this Part, a cohabitant is one of 2 adults (whether of the same or the opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other.
(2) In determining whether or not 2 adults are cohabitants, the court shall take into account all the circumstances of the relationship and in particular shall have regard to the following:
(a) the duration of the relationship;
(b) the basis on which the couple live together;
(c) the degree of financial dependence of either adult on the other and any agreements in respect of their finances;
(d) the degree and nature of any financial arrangements between the adults including any joint purchase of an estate or interest in land or joint acquisition of personal property;
(e) whether there are one or more dependent children;
(f) whether one of the adults cares for and supports the children of the other; and
(g) the degree to which the adults present themselves to others as a couple.
(3) For the avoidance of doubt a relationship does not cease to be an intimate relationship for the purpose of this section merely because it is no longer sexual in nature.
(4) For the purposes of this section, 2 adults are within a prohibited degree of relationship if—
(a) they would be prohibited from marrying each other in the State, or
(5) For the purposes of this Part, a qualified cohabitant means an adult who was in a relationship of cohabitation with another adult and who, immediately before the time that that relationship ended, whether through death or otherwise, was living with the other adult as a couple for a period—
(a) of 2 years or more, in the case where they are the parents of one or more dependent children, and
(b) of 5 years or more, in any other case.
(6) Notwithstanding subsection (5), an adult who would otherwise be a qualified cohabitant is not a qualified cohabitant if—
(a) one or both of the adults is or was, at any time during the relationship concerned, an adult who was married to someone else, and
(b) at the time the relationship concerned ends, each adult who is or was married has not lived apart from his or her spouse for a period or periods of at least 4 years during the previous 5 years.