Legislation to reform divorce law to be brought forward following referendum result
Legislation to reduce the period of time couples must live apart before divorcing will be brought forward following a resounding vote for reform in the divorce referendum.
The Government’s proposal to amend Articles 41.3.2 and 41.3.3 of the Constitution to allow the Oireachtas to legislate on the matter was approved by 82.1 per cent of voters.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed the “very decisive result with a consistent, high level of support right across the country”.
He added: “The Government wants to ensure that the process for obtaining a divorce is fair, dignified and humane, and allows both parties to move forward with their lives within a reasonable timeframe.
“It is therefore my intention to reduce the living apart period to a minimum of two out of the preceding three years and to do so by way of ordinary legislation, which I will bring forward as soon as possible. This proposal has widespread cross-party support in the Oireachtas.”
The heads of a bill to amend section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 have already been published, and the minister will now work with the Attorney General to draft the bill.
Mr Flanagan also paid tribute to his Government colleague Josepha Madigan, whose private members’ bill “started the legislative discussion around this issue”.
Ms Madigan praised the “amazing result”, which she called a “great move for Irish people going through divorce and separation”.