The Family Law Act 2019 was signed into law by the President on 25 October 2019 and makes a number of amendments to existing laws in relation to divorce in Ireland. The Act comprises 3 Parts in all, with Part 1 pertaining to the short title and commencement of the Act.
Part 2 of the Act provides for amendments to Acts relating to family law. The main provision in Part 2 is section 3. Section 3 amends section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996. This reduces the minimum living apart period specified in that Act to two years during the previous three years. Previously the minimum living apart period was four years during the previous five years.
Part 3 of the Act makes provision for the recognition of divorces, legal separations and marriage annulments granted under the law of the United Kingdom, in the event that the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union without an agreement that applies to this area of law. I will bring Part 3 into operation only if and when the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union without such an agreement.
It is my intention to make a commencement order to bring all sections of Parts 1 and 2 of the Family Law Act 2019 into operation on 1 December 2019. At the heart of the Government’s reforms in this area of the law is a desire to ease the burden on people whose marriages have broken down. This legislation will ensure that the process for obtaining a divorce is fair, dignified and humane.