Divorce laws in Ireland

Divorces are never a pleasant thing to go through, and most people just want it sorted as quickly as possible, without any hassle. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of exactly how you can get a divorce, and how to go about it once you have made the decision. If you live in Ireland, here’s what you need to know about getting a divorce.

Is divorce legal in Ireland?

Divorce is legal in Ireland, but it has been for a lot less time than other European nations, with the first legal divorce in Ireland happening in 1997 – 150 years after it was legalized for everyday people in the UK.

Divorce Laws in Ireland – when can I get a divorce?

One or both of the party must live in Ireland, have been living in the country for at least one year, and intend to remain there. Furthermore, most couples who apply for a divorce in Ireland live apart for a set period of time before they are granted a divorce.

This has recently changed to allow married couples to live apart for any two in three years before applying for a divorce (previously four out of the previous five years). If the married couple cannot live apart in separate houses, the Family Law Act does state that ‘living apart’ can include people who are living in the same home but not living together as part of a relationship.

Can I get a divorce if my partner doesn’t want to?
Yes, only one party has to apply for a divorce. However, most couples are encouraged to look at the relationship before making big decisions and potentially try therapy and thereafter mediation to try and reach agreement before entering contested divorce proceedings.

Can I get a fast track divorce in certain situations?
While couples in any situation can legally separate, unfortunately, Irish law does not offer fast track divorces in certain situations i.e. when partners have committed adultery, or even people in abusive relationships.

However divorce on consensual terms between couples by its nature does manage to result in an earlier hearing date and so if agreement can be reached between the parties, if will move matters along in a faster manner.

Separation Agreement

 While a divorce takes time, some couples choose to separate beforehand legally.
A separation agreement is a useful contract to have. Separation agreements may detail things like who has the right to remain in the family home, division of other assets, whether one partner continues to support the other, maintenance , custody and access re the children.

This is often resolved with a mediator or a divorce solicitor, although if the couple has an amicable relationship still, the terms can be reached independently.

Judicial Separation
A judicial separation is an option for partners who cannot agree terms to reach a settlement agreement in family law.

Do I need to be separated before divorcing?

In Ireland, you can apply for a divorce and do not have to have a legal separation beforehand. However, you will need to live apart before doing so and if you don’t legally separate, you will be seen as a couple in legal terms.

If you are legally separated before getting divorced, you will no longer be a couple in the eyes of the law.

Can I remarry before obtaining a Divorce

You will not be able to remarry until you are legally divorced.