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Ireland Looks to Reduce Divorce Waiting Period


In Florida, we have a very liberal and relaxed standard for being allowed to divorce. There is no waiting period, and couples do not need to spend any time separated before asking for a divorce. In fact, Florida does not even recognize legal separation. However, not all states or countries allow this.

Ireland Voters Want Waiting Period Reduced

The country of Ireland is seeking to change its divorce laws, to deal with the question of how long a couple should have to remain separated, before being allowed to divorce. Previously, the law required that a couple spend 4 of the previous 5 years living separately from their spouse before being allowed to even ask the court for a divorce. Even those in abusive relationships were not excused from the waiting period.

Eighty-two percent of Irish voters in a recent referendum voted for a change in the law. Many residents found the law made it difficult to move on with their lives. Extended separations can also be difficult on children, who may be forced to live with divorced parents who aren’t actually legally divorced. Already strained relationships between soon-to-be ex spouses can be made worse with the required extended separation period.

We take for granted the ability to divorce, but many countries, including Ireland, have only recently agreed that it is a fact of life. Ireland only received the right to divorce in 1995 (although it did legalize same sex marriage in 2015).

Waiting Periods for U.S. States Varies

Many states in America have these “cooling off periods.” Some require that parties live separately before filing the divorce, others require that a certain time period elapse from the date the divorce is filed to the date that it is finalized. Waiting time periods in some U.S. states can be as long as 6 months. The purpose of these waiting periods is to allow the parties time to reflect on whether or not they really do want to get divorced.

Some states only require the parties wait out the time period, while others require that they live separately and not engage in sexual relations during the waiting period. The waiting periods can be longer when there are children of the marriage.

Court Cases Take Time

Of course, even in states with no waiting period, such as Florida, there is a built in waiting period: The time it takes your divorce to go through the court.

Even if the parties agree with absolutely everything, the time needed to prepare documents, file them, serve the other party with divorce paperwork, and get a hearing date in front of a judge, can range between 60-90 days. Add in even one or two minor issues that need to be resolved, and perhaps a mediation to resolve those issues, and the time becomes even longer—though still shorter than cases where more or major issues are contested by the parties.

Our Tampa divorce attorneys at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group understand the need to get through your divorce and to get on with your life. Call us with any questions you may have.


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