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Recognition of Foreign Divorces

Under Irish law, foreign divorces are recognised if both spouses were domiciled resident in the particular jurisdiction or state of the court granting the divorce at the date of the beginning of the proceedings.

The law concerning the recognition of foreign divorces

The Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act, 1986 governs the recognition of foreign divorces. In addition, Brussels II bis provides a uniform set of rules for automatic recognition of divorces, separation and nullities granted in the courts in other EU Member States.

The recognition of foreign divorce is based on satisfying formal jurisdiction criteria. If the foreign court did not properly have jurisdiction over the couple, that court did not have jurisdiction to grant the divorce and the law of that country is irrelevant. A divorce granted by a court with insufficient jurisdiction over a couple to divorce them will always be decided by Irish law.

The meaning of Domicile

Domicile is a complicated legal concept. Stated very broadly, a person is domiciled in the country where he/she is born or, having emigrated, where he/she is resident and intends to reside permanently or at least indefinitely.

Pre 1986 rules

The pre 1986 rules provided that the recognition of foreign divorce was dependant on the principle of Domicile. A pre 1986 foreign divorce would be recognised once either of the parties was domiciled in the foreign jurisdiction.

Application to the court

The Family Law Act, 1995 permits the court to seek a declaration that a divorce is entitled to recognition within the state. Healy O’Connor Solicitors can assist in the making of an application to the Court in order to seek a Declaration as to the validity or non-validity of a foreign divorce.

Seeking advice on the legal recognition of foreign divorce in Ireland

The legal recognition of foreign divorce in Ireland is a complex area of law involving proof of domicile in a country where the divorce has been granted.

Healy O’Connor
Articles and consultations authored by attorney reflect the state of law as of the date of their writing. The laws change daily. Users of this site are advised to consult attorney regarding their situation.
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