Recognition of Foreign Divorces in Ireland

Concerned that your foreign divorce may not be recognised in Ireland? Divorces granted after 1986 are governed by two key pieces of legislation (Divorces granted before 1986 are governed by common law rules):

  1. The Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act (1986). This act specifies that if either spouse was domiciled in the jurisdiction granting the divorce at the date divorce proceedings began, the divorce will be recognised in Ireland. (To be domiciled means to be living in a place with the intention of living there permanently).
  2. The Brussels II regulation of 2001, later amended by Brussels II bis. Brussels II regulation states that foreign divorces in Brussels II countries should be recognised automatically in Ireland.

Note: If you cannot prove that one of the parties was domiciled in the jurisdiction granting the foreign divorce, section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995 may help. This allows you to apply to the Circuit Court or High Court for a declaration that your foreign divorce should be recognised in Ireland. Even if the divorce is recognised in another jurisdiction if the divorce is not recognised in Ireland, this can have serious implications for tax or inheritance perspective.

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