Fears Brexit could prevent foreign divorces being recognised in Ireland

Fears Brexit could prevent foreign divorces being recognised in Ireland

The Government is set to fast-track new rules drawn up after May's divorce referendum amid fears Brexit could prevent foreign divorces being recognised in Ireland.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will speed up the new laws at cabinet's weekly meeting on Tuesday, saying the legal changes must be introduced by the end of this month.

As part of a referendum championed by Ms Madigan last May, a couple may now be allowed to divorce after living apart from each other for two years out of the previous three years.

This differs from the pre-referendum rules that a couple may only divorce in Ireland if they have been living apart for four of the last five years.

The changes - contained in the Family Law bill - are part of priority legislation earmarked to be pushed to the front of the queue quickly.

However, due to legal fears Brexit could make it impossible for foreign divorces to be recognised in Ireland under the new laws, the Government has decided to specifically fast-track the divorce law and ensure it is fully introduced by October 31.

Ms Madigan will bring a memo seeking the cabinet green light for the move on Tuesday morning, as Mr Flanagan will still be in Luxembourg until the mid-morning and before the budget at 1pm.

In the highly likely event the Family Law bill is backed by cabinet, it will then be sent for approval to the Dáil and Seanad.

Government officials have indicated this is likely to be a rubber-stamp process, with the bill expected to be passed within the next three weeks and before the current October 31 Brexit deal deadline.

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