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Cabinet to discuss divorce proposals amid fears Brexit could impact recognition of UK separations

New legislation will reduce the length of time couples must be separated before divorcing.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/andriano.cz

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan will bring legislative proposals to Cabinet today which would reduce the length of time couples must be separated before divorcing.

Flanagan is set to propose a reduction of the separation period to two years out of the previous three – down from four out of the previous five.

In May, 82% of voters in a referendum backed the removal of the separation period required for divorce from the Constitution, enabling it to be changed via legislation.

The Family Law Bill 2019 also proposes reducing to one year the minimum living apart period of three years that applies to judicial separation applications in cases where the respondent does not consent to the decree of judicial separation being granted.

The proposed one-year period is in line with other minimum living apart periods for judicial separation applications.

Threat of no-deal Brexit 

On 24 May, voters also supported modernising the provision on recognition of foreign divorces.

Due to “the threat” of a no-deal Brexit, a spokesperson said Flanagan is “also proposing legislation on the recognition of divorces, legal separations and annulments granted under UK law”.

“This means that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK decisions will be recognised by under similar rules to those granted within the EU.”

The legislation is expected to make swift progress through the Oireachtas.

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Órla Ryan

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