Since divorce was introduced in Ireland in 1996, there has always a compulsory waiting time of 4 years before proceedings for divorce could begin after a couple separated. Now there is a proposal from Josepha Madigan TD to reduce the waiting time for Divorce in Ireland from 4 years, and introduce 2-year divorce.
Such a change will require an amendment to the Constitution, but the reduction in the waiting time will without doubt ease the burden upon couples and families, in regulating their affairs after marital breakdown.
How 2-year divorce will help:
Due to the 4-year rule, couples in Ireland must effectively go through two processes: separation and divorce. Legal separation is usually necessary because important matters such as maintenance, access, and what happens to the family home, cannot wait 4 years for decisions to be made. Where couples can come to common agreements on these issues, this delay may not always be a major issue. But where couples cannot agree on these key issues, they are then faced with two alternatives:
· They take issues such as custody, access and maintenance to the District Court, or
· They apply to the Circuit Court for an overall Decree of Judicial Separation to cover all issues.
Taking your family issues to court can be traumatic, costly and time consuming. Then after the 4 years, a further court application is still necessary to obtain a Divorce, so these families face a further round of legal proceedings. Reducing the period to 2 years may make legal separation unnecessary for many couples and ease the financial burden of legal fees which arise, if the couple cannot reach agreement.
If you need further information about separation, divorce or any other family law issues, or to make an appointment, email us on
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