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'People can't move on': TD proposes to reduce divorce waiting period from two years to six months

Currently, a couple must live apart from one another for at least two out of the previous three years before they can apply for divorce.

COUPLES SHOULD ONLY have to wait six months to obtain a divorce, according to Green Party TD Patrick Costello. 

The party’s justice spokesperson intends to introduce new private members’ legislation to amend existing legislation around divorce.

Currently, a couple must live apart from one another for at least two out of the previous three years before they can apply for divorce.

Before 1 December 2019, this was four out of the previous five years.

Costello said the move to two years “does not go far enough” and new proposals would see the wait time lowered to six months.

“The history of divorce liberalisation in the country has been a long journey. The prohibition was removed in 1995 but a minimum period of four years separation was required to access it. This was removed from the constitution and further reduced to two years in 2019. Whilst I welcomed that move it is clear to me in 2024 that this does not go far enough,” he said. 

Speaking about abortion legislation, he said a mandatory review of the legislation was built-in, which government is now working through.

“The legislation around divorce contained no such review. My bill will reduce this period to six months,” said Costello. 

As a TD, Costello said he has dealt with numerous concerned and frustrated constituents whose marriages have broken down.

“They tell me the existing laws are onerous and tie them to their ex-partner for longer than they would like. This prevents them moving on with their life and starting a new chapter. It is for these people, my constituents, that I am introducing this legislation today,” he said. 

The Census 2022 data revealed that some 133,420 described their marital status as divorced. 

The percentage of people who were separated or divorced remained stable at 6%. 

At just over 7% each, Wexford and Longford recorded the highest percentage of divorced and separated people.

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