I welcome the commencement of the Family Law Act 2019 by the Minister for Justice.
Following commencement, the period of time during which a couple need to be living separate and apart before they can apply for a divorce has been reduced from four years to two. This change was endorsed overwhelmingly in a referendum in May, with 82% voting in favour.
The Family Law Act 2019, which was signed into law by the President on 25 October 2019, 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. The commencement of the Act means that its provisions now take full legal effect.
This is a change that I have championed throughout my time in politics and will help to ease the emotional and financial burden on divorcing couples.
It will impact thousands of people in Ireland.
As a family lawyer, I saw the negative impact that our old divorce laws had and it was this that motivated me to introduce my Private Members’ Bill in 2016, which was later adopted as Government policy.
I would like to thank the Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice, and everyone in the Oireachtas and in the country that supported this reform.
It is a positive change for so many people.”