Law Society backs Government’s proposal in Divorce Referendum

In a press release issued by the Law Society of Ireland on Thursday the 2nd of May the Law Society has issued strong support for the Government’s proposal to remove the minimum living apart period for spouses seeking a divorce from the Constitution.

The referendum will take place on the 24th of May in which Irish citizens will be asked to accept the removal from the constitution of the provision of the length of time the couples must be separated before they are eligible to seek a divorce.

Voters will also be asked to allow the recognition of foreign divorces. It is proposed that a bill will be introduced in the Dáil and Seanad which will reduce the time the couples must be living separate and apart from the current period of 4 years to 2 years.

The Law Society has also issued 11 recommendations in relation to the conduct of family law cases and is recommending a specialised family court structure (similar to the criminal law Court system) to be established and that a clear definition of “ living apart” be formalised.

It has also called for more clarity in relation to how Judges are to make orders relating to maintenance, lump sum payments, settlements, property adjustment orders and pension adjustment orders so that there is a more consistent application by the Judiciary in relation to these orders.

Irish divorce law has never recognised the notion of “a clean break” . The law society is recommending that there should be a clean break in certain appropriate cases and in this regard a review of maintenance should be prioritised.

Finally, the Law Society is also recommending that court reporting in a research role should be amended so that a bona fide researcher with a connection to the legal profession can carry out research on family law cases.

The recommendations made by the law society are a very welcome contribution to the ongoing debate regarding both the issues with divorce and also the broader question of how the family law system is administered in this country. Hopefully , the Government will take heed of these important issues for the betterment of both these parties and in particular the children of marriages which are no longer sustainable.

For further advice or any information on any family law issue please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon on 01-2960666.