DIVORCE IN IRELAND
It is now more than twenty years since divorce as a remedy in Family Law cases was introduced in Ireland. The principal act governing divorce is The Divorce Act 1996. Prior to that, whilst a couple could separate they possibility of remarrying was not there.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET TO AVAIL OF DIVORCE?
For a couple to avail of Divorce they must comply with the following:-
1. At the date of the commencement of the divorce proceedings the spouses must have lived apart for four out of the previous five years.
2. There must be no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses.
3. Proper provision is to be made for the spouses and dependent family members.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A DIVORCE IN IRELAND ?
Anybody who lives in the Republic of Ireland can apply for a divorce in Ireland. Even if the other spouse lives elsewhere in the EU, (other than Denmark) the spouse living in Ireland can apply for a divorce in Ireland. they must of course comply with the conditions set out above.
WHAT ABOUT BREXIT?
We do not know how Brexit will affect divorce in Ireland for spouses where one lives in Dublin and the other in Belfast or London, for example. At the moment, ( July 2018) if one spouse lives in Dublin and the other in Belfast or London the spouse living in Dublin can apply for a divorce in the Irish Courts provided they comply with the conditions above.
ARE THERE FAMILY LAW REMEDIES AVAILABLE OTHER THAN DIVORCE?
Yes there are other family law remedies available other than divorce and these must be considered in the context of a Divorce.
The first thing a spouse contemplating divorce should consider is whether a reconciliation is in any way possible.
The state run organisation "RELATE" may be able to provide assistance if spouses wish to explore the possibility of a reconciliation.
The parties may attend a mediation service such as the Legal Aid Board run Family Mediation Service to attempt to agree the terms of separation or divorce. The Mediation Act 2017 now imposes a duty on solicitors to advise a client, before starting court proceedings of the advantages of mediation.
Spouses may be entitled to a decree nullity which states that the marriage never existed. Nullity may be granted on the basis that at the time of the purported marriage one or both parties did not meet the legal requirements for marriage. for example one or both of them were under 18 years. Unlike divorce there is no minimum waiting time for an application for a decree nullity.
Spouses can enter into a separation agreement where they agree on all issues and set this agreement out in a written document which they both sign off on in the presence of witnesses. Some matters cannot not be dealt with by a separation agreement such as agreements on pensions.
Where the parties are having difficulty agreeing on the issues they can apply to court for a judicial separation. The court then has the power to decide on all matters.
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