Divorced Abroad Solicitors Dublin, Ireland

Blanchardstown, Castleknock, 27 Mount Street Upper, Dublin City Centre

Divorced Abroad & Recognition of Foreign Divorces

Navigating being Divorced Abroad and Recognition of a Foreign Divorce

The recognition of a foreign divorce is important on a whole range of legal issues including if you wish to re-marry.   A divorce impacts legal obligations around Wills, Inheritance and Succession laws, pensions, tax, and other financial obligations and entitlements.

Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986

The Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986 provides that  a  divorce may only be recognised in Ireland if it was granted in the country where one of the spouses was domiciled on the date that the divorce proceedings were instituted.

Other legislation also applies to this area including Parts III and IV of the Family Law Act, 1995 and Council Regulation (EU) No. 2019/111 of 25th June 2019 which concerns the jurisdiction, recognition, and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility and on international child abduction (also known as Brussells Ilb). This provides a uniform set of rules for automatic recognition of divorces, separations, and nullities granted in the courts in other EU Member States. The recognition of foreign divorce is based on satisfying formal jurisdiction criteria. If the foreign court did not properly have jurisdiction over the couple, that court did not have jurisdiction to grant the divorce and the law of that country therefore is irrelevant. A divorce granted by a court with inadequate jurisdiction over the parties will accordingly be decided by Irish law.

This is not an area of law without its complexities.  Indeed Judge O’Donnell in the case of MH -v- GH and the AG [2015] IESC 8 said that the recognition of foreign divorce 

“is an area which is both a difficult area of law and the source of considerable difficulty and uncertainty for those unfortunate enough to have their lives affected by it”.

On Foreign Divorces recognition in Ireland

Foreign divorces (including those granted in non-EU member states) will be generally recognised in Ireland if either of the couples was living permanently in the state granting the divorce at the date when the divorce proceedings were issued. The question of domicile is a complex factor in these cases and what is someone’s domicile is not always an easy test. This can involve assessing the person’s domicile of origin, change of domicile, whether there was an abandonment of domicile, and/or a new domicile of choice.

In certain cases, where there are issues as to whether or not a foreign divorce is entitled to recognition an application can be made to have the divorce recognised or not recognised in Ireland and for a Declaration on Marital Status by virtue of Section 29 of the Family Law Act, 1995.  

The court’s decision will depend on a number of factors including:
  • Where the divorce was granted
  • When it was granted
  • Whether either of the spouses lived in the jurisdiction granting the divorce, and if so, for how long, whether or not it was their normal residence, and whether they intended to permanently stay there.

Clearly this is a challenging and complex area of law the Thirty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019 now provides that  the Oireachtas may legislate for the recognition of foreign divorces granted under the civil law of another state and this is an area of law where specialised family law advice is to be recommended

Call the office at 27 Mount Street Upper at 00-353-1-8272888 to make an appointment to meet and discuss with our Divorce Solicitors Ireland or use the quick enquiry form here.

Frequently Asked Questions on being Divorced Abroad or about Foreign Divorce Solicitors Dublin

I was divorced overseas, will my divorce be valid in Ireland?

As you will have gathered from reading the information above, this is a complex area of law and expert legal advice and review of your Divorce Order and circumstances will only be able to confirm the situation for you.  In broad general terms however, if neither party was domiciled in the country where the divorce was obtained, then that divorce may not be recognised in Ireland – even though it might be recognised in the country where the divorce was obtained. 

What does it mean if my foreign divorce is not valid in Ireland?

If a foreign divorce is not recognised in Ireland, legally one remains married to the first spouse and all of the usual rights and obligations between spouses remain for a whole range of matters including financial obligations and succession rights.

If there is a question over the validity of a foreign divorce and you proceed to get re-married, in those circumstances the Registrar of Civil Marriages may refuse to agree to perform a marriage ceremony if there is any doubt over the validity of a previous marriage, divorce or annulment.


Your Expert Divorced Abroad & Foreign Divorce Legal Team in Ireland

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced divorce solicitors Ireland are on hand to advise and skilled in handling all nature of divorce.

The two partners of Carmody Moran solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty five years professional legal experience. Together with their associates they aim to make the Court process as straight forward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients concerns and worries about going through the Court process.

Anthony Carmody Foreign Divorce Solicitor Dublin

Anthony Carmody


Anthony Carmody is one of the founding Partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors.

He has significant experience in divorce abroad cases and foreign divorce cases having handled literally thousands of cases on behalf of clients based in Ireland and abroad.

Niamh Moran Foreign Divorce Solicitor Dublin

Niamh Moran


Niamh Moran is one of the founding partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors and is a solicitor with wide-ranging experience across all areas of general practice.

Niamh manages the family law, including divorce divisions of the practice which covers divorce later in life & foreign divorce in Dublin,. Niamh’s practice of law is extremely varied and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by clients and colleagues alike.

*While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and it affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about you personally and it is not intended as legal advice. We will not be liable to you if you rely on this information. In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

You should note that no solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between Carmody Moran Solicitors and you until you have received a written letter of engagement from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.

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