The Irish Government has ordered a referendum on easing the country's divorce restrictions.
It will propose removing constitutional references to the minimum period an estranged couple must spend apart before receiving the permanent court decree.
Ministers want to shorten the waiting period from four years to two. They will legislate should change be approved by citizens this spring.
The public poll will be held alongside votes in the European and local elections in late May.
Culture Minister and former family lawyer Josepha Madigan said: "For future generations this is a really important day, it is really going to help a lot of people in Ireland who, for various different reasons, suffer marital breakdown.
"We have to show compassion and some humanity to them," she added.