Belfast Telegraph

Divorces granted in Northern Ireland may not be recognised in Republic after Brexit

Brexit could affect the recognition of divorce.
Brexit could affect the recognition of divorce.

Divorces granted in Northern Ireland may not be recognised in the Irish Republic after Brexit, Irish barristers have warned.

Members of the Bar Council of Ireland have said that divorces granted in the UK, including Northern Ireland, will not automatically be recognised.

Under European law divorces, separations and annulments granted in any EU member state will automatically be recognised in all other member states.

The Sunday Times has reported that following Brexit the UK government and EU would have to make separate orders to recognise divorce in the separate jurisdictions.

It is understood UK marriages would be treated similarly to those from countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

“In an effort to avoid the creation of ‘limping marriages’, it may require the introduction of future domestic legislation to address this particular category of foreign divorces,” the Bar Council said.

'Limping marriages' are marriages which are introduced in one jurisdiction, but not another.

According to the Sunday Times people in Ireland who divorced in the UK would not be able to remarry until the new legislation was introduced.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said it would act “quickly to specifically address any negative impact that a no-deal Brexit might have on recognition of UK divorces”.

The Bar Council also warned that the issue could complicate international child custody cases and child abduction cases.

The department spokesperson said that anyone involved in a family law dispute with someone living in the Britain or Northern Ireland, or involving a British or Northern Irish court should get legal advice on how Brexit could affect their case.

Mechanisms are in place to ensure child and family maintenance agreements will not be affected.

Divorce only became legal in the Republic of Ireland after a referendum in 1996.

Another referendum held earlier this year scrapped a provision that couples be required to live apart for four out of five years before being granted a divorce.

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