Client Question:

I separated from my wife two years ago and moved to England to be with my family (I am actually Irish, but many of my family members live in England).  I have decided to divorce my wife which I suspect she will not want to do even though we are no longer together.  I had heard that England was an easier place to get divorced than Ireland but don’t understand the differences.  Could you explain the implications of getting a divorce in England rather than Ireland?

 

Brookman’s Answer:

Generally speaking, it is quicker to divorce in England than Ireland, although because of the time you have been separated, this is not necessarily so in your particular case. However, because you think that your wife may be reluctant to have a divorce, the process may be more straightforward in England. That is because if you divorce in England on the basis of her unreasonable behaviour or her adultery (if that has been the case) there is really nothing she can do to delay the process and you are likely to get the divorce within about 6 months. I do not know if you have to sort out any financial issues. A significant difference between English law and family law in Ireland is in the treatment of maintenance. In England you can get a clean break settlement of spousal maintenance.

Irish maintenance orders are made for life unless there is a change in circumstances or the payee remarries, but to an extent the Irish courts are more reluctant to make spousal maintenance orders than the English courts.

The English courts tend to approach division on the basis of equality. The Irish courts do not; they prioritise “proper provision” which is not quite the same thing.

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