1484. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice if she will advise on a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding recognition of foreign divorce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20268/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986 governs the recognition of foreign divorces granted on or after the coming into operation of the Act on 2 October 1986. Section 5 of the 1986 Act provides that a foreign divorce may only be recognised in Ireland if it was granted in the country where either spouse was domiciled on the date the divorce proceedings were instituted. The determination of “domicile” includes an assessment of the intention of the person to remain indefinitely in the foreign jurisdiction. Recognition of foreign divorces granted prior to the coming into operation of the 1986 Act is governed by common law domicile rules which are now consistent with those in the 1986 Act.
Where there is an issue as to whether a foreign divorce is entitled to recognition, section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995 allows a person to apply to court for a declaration as to marital status, including a declaration as to whether a foreign divorce is entitled to recognition in the State.
The Thirty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019 was signed into law on 11 June 2019 following its approval by the people in a referendum on 24 May 2019.
That Act deleted the following subsection from Article 41.3 of the Constitution:
“3° No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any other State but is a subsisting valid marriage under the law for the time being in force within the jurisdiction of the Government and Parliament established by this Constitution shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage within that jurisdiction during the lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved.”,
“3° Provision may be made by law for the recognition under the law of the State of a dissolution of marriage granted under the civil law of another state.”
Part 3 of the Family Law Act 2019, which related only to the recognition of divorces granted in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar, was not commenced and was repealed by section 4 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2020. Part 19 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2020 makes provision for the recognition in Ireland of divorces granted in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar and has been in operation since 11.00 p.m. on 31 December 2020.