The Irish electorate will be asked to vote in an important referendum on divorce this Friday. As a coalition of civil society organisations we are calling for a yes vote so that we can have a better, more compassionate process for people who need it.
On Friday, people will be asked to approve an amendment to the Constitution to remove the requirement for spouses to live apart for a minimum of four years out of the preceding five when applying for a divorce. The new proposals would reduce that to two years out of the previous three. For people who got divorced abroad, a yes vote means they will clarify the law on the recognition of foreign divorces.
By voting yes, we can reduce some of the stress and conflict linked to the divorce process. We will be able to give a couple the time they need to make the decision that is right for them and their children. A shorter divorce process will also be beneficial for children who will have greater clarity about their living situation. The referendum will not change the constitutional requirements that before a divorce can be granted a Court must be satisfied that proper provision has been made for both spouses and their children and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation before a Divorce can be granted.
The Constitution is not the right place to deal with complex personal relationships. By voting yes on Friday we can create a more compassionate and supportive divorce process for couples and families in Ireland.
Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland
Liam Herrick, Executive Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Eilis Barry, Chief Executive, FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres)
Keith Walsh, Lawyers for YES
Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family
Divorce and the Constitution – Irish Times