Legislation to recognise UK divorces after Brexit approved by cabinet

Government ministers have approved plans to legislate for the recognition of UK divorces after expiry of the Brexit transition period.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: “I am conscious that in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, EU law will no longer apply to legal proceedings involving the UK once the Brexit transition period comes to an end. Among the areas affected are family law matters.

“What we are doing is bringing forward new legislative provisions in similar terms to Part 3 of the Family Law Act 2019, which provided for recognition of UK divorces in the event of a disorderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU.”

The necessary provisions will be included in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2020, which is being brought forward by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“This would enable the issue to be dealt with speedily, before the transition period expires,” Ms McEntee said.

The proposed legislation would confirm that the recognition of divorces granted in the UK will continue to be on the basis of habitual residence, rather than the domicile rules which apply to the recognition of divorces granted in non-EU states.

The wider issues regarding recognition of foreign divorces will be addressed at a later stage when the Law Reform Commission has completed its examination of this area of law.

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