Doyle & Company LLP Solicitors

New Family Law Act 2019 - Introduces 2 year divorces.

New Family Law Act 2019 - Introduces 2 year divorces.


Family Law Act 2019 - Introduces 2 year divorces.


On the 1st December 2019 the Family Law Act (2009) commenced, bringing significant changes to the practice of Family Law in Ireland. The 2019 Act followed the Referendum which approved a reduction in the waiting time for divorce. The requirement that a couple, lived separate and apart for a period of 4 years in the previous 5 years was amended, so that it changed to 2 years in the previous 3 years.

The Family Law (Divorce Act) 1996 sets out the requirements for entitlement to a divorce and it has essentially 3 elements:

1. That the spouses have lived apart for 4 out of the previous 5 years, that is now amended by the 2019 Act, so that spouses have lived apart for 2 years out of the previous 3 years are now entitled to apply for a divorse.

2. There is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation – this is unchanged by the 2019 Act.

3. Provisions are made for spouses and dependent family members as the Court considers proper, having regard to the circumstances, this remains unchanged by the 2019 Act.

What this means is that if you and your spouse are living apart for at least 2 years during the previous 3 years, you are entitled to issue divorce proceedings and obtain a decree of divorce.

Two year Divorce

It should be noted that the definition for living apart is quite wide and people who live under the same roof may be cosidered living apart from one another. If you have separated, but are still living in the same house albeit living separate lives, you maybe deemed to be living separate and apart and entitled to a divorce.

Judicial Separation

The 2019 Act made some changes to Judicial Separations. Previously the case was that you would of have to have physically lived apart for 1 year, only then could you have applied with your sposes consent for a Judicial Separation.

The 2019 Act changed this provision, so that if you have been living apart for 1 year you are entitled to a judicial separation, whether or not your spouse consents.

The Family Law Act 2019 has brought in important changes that must be considered carefully for anyone seeking a judicial separation or a divorce.

For further advice please contact Caolán Doyle, Partner in charge of our famiy law department.

This article is meant for an overview of the Act and it cannot be constituted as direct advice to you. The application of law is dependent on particular circumstances and you must take direct advice from a Solicitor in relation to your circumstances and how the law applies to you.

We take no responsibility in relation to anyone who acts or causes someone to act or neglects to do some act based on anything contained in this article.

Doyle & Company