Divorce

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Under the Family Law Divorce Act, 1996 couples seeking a Divorce have to satisfy the Court that they have lived apart for four out of the proceedings five years. It is not necessary to show that either party is to blame and the Irish system is as such, a ‘no fault’ system.  Solicitors acting for either party do need to certify that they advised their Clients in relation to mediation and alternatives to Divorce and to assist attempts at reconciliation. The Mediation Act, 2017 increases safeguards to ensure that those wishing to issue Family Law Proceedings are made even more aware of alternatives to going to Court. If a Mediated Agreement is reached between a married couple who still wish to obtain a Divorce the terms contained in the Agreement can form the basis of a ‘Consent’ Divorce which minimises the cost, financial and emotional of protracted contentious Divorce proceedings for the parties involved.  A ‘Consent’ Divorce can be obtained directly also in circumstances where the parties wish to obtain a Divorce Order and are already in agreement in relation to issues involved (such as custody, access, maintenance and division of assets) without needing to attend for Mediation.  The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, (herself a Family Law practitioner) has proposed removing the constitutional ban on Divorce and has proposed  amending the Constitution through a referendum so that legislation reducing this wait period for Divorce from four years out of the preceding five to two years out of the preceding three could be passed.

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