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Quickie divorce law aims to cut wait time from four years to two

If passed, a referendum will be called to change the Constitution.

Image: Shutterstock/beijersbergen

A FINE GAEL TD will propose a Bill later this week to bring about quicker divorces in Ireland.

Currently, under the Constitution, couples are required to wait for a period of four years before a court can grant a divorce.

Fine Gael’s Josepha Madigan’s private members Bill, if passed, will reduce the time period to two years.

A referendum will need to be called and passed for this to happen as a change to the Constitution is required.

Emotional stress 

Madigan, a qualified solicitor who has worked for many years in family law, said the legislation as it stands is unfair and makes separated couples go through unnecessary financial strain and emotional distress over a four-year period.

She said the Bill will allow couples obtain the legal clarity and finality of a divorce, allowing them to move on with their lives.

It’s understood both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have indicated their support for this Bill, as have a number of TDs from all parties.

It’s two decades since divorce was legalised in Ireland and thousands of couples across the country go through the process each year.

Following the referendum in November 1995, the prohibition of divorce was removed from the Constitution and this was signed into law in June 1996.

The referendum result had been a close one with 50.28% voting in favour and 49.79% against.

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Divorce on the rise 

Last year, there were 4,314 applications for divorce and 3,291 were granted. This was an increase on 2014, when 3,821 people applied for divorce and 2,638 were granted.

download (22) Source: Statista

Figures have risen and fallen over the years, but statistics for the last decade show the majority of applications are granted.

Additional reporting Michelle Hennessy 

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