Ireland's divorce laws "lagging behind", according to experts

Our constitution contains very little on children’s rights compared to other European countries

Ireland's divorce laws "lagging behind", according to experts

A couple stands on a wooden stage during their wedding ceremony | Image: PA images

Ireland's divorce laws are in need of "urgent reform", according to experts at University College Cork (UCC).

Our current laws are lagging behind our European counterparts and the impact it has on parties post divorce is of particular concern. 

Irish divorce laws do not define 'marital property' and do not place any limits on assets available for consideration.

Under the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996, it's open to either spouse to apply for every form of financial relief available at the time of the divorce hearing, or at any time in the future except where the applicant has re-married.

This means courts can choose to make orders not only in respect of assets earned during marriage, but also assets brought to the marriage, and earnings gained long after the divorce has been granted.

Dr Louise Crowley of UCC's School of Law says there are areas of family law that could be improved here.

 

Children's rights

UCC’s Dr Conor O’Mahony says that Ireland’s constitution still contains very little on children’s rights compared to many of our European neighbours. 

UCC Professor Ursula Kilkelly believes that developmental science in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems must be carefully used to ensure we help, rather than harm, adolescents in state care.

A draft proposal based on Ireland's children's rights and family law will be up for debate today. 

Dr O’Mahony will present the findings of a study of constitutional protection of children’s rights across 47 Council of Europe member states, at the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in Dublin.