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Easing the trauma of divorce in family law courts

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1536240727559{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;background: #ffffff url(https://www.orpenfranks.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/touch-bg.jpg?id=1102) !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}” el_class=”touch-mobile”][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1536239598444{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}” offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm”][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”cs-14″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_id=”slider-bottom” css=”.vc_custom_1574431739994{padding-top: 50px !important;padding-bottom: 50px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}” el_class=”content-area brand-middle”][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3226″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Cutting the compulsory 4-year wait time for a divorce in Ireland to 2 years is the most important change for families facing marital breakdown. It could help many couples avoid going through a legal separation process, in addition to divorce proceedings – which can involve going through the family law courts twice over. However, this change will take time.

But there are many other steps which our government could take to ease the burden and challenges faced by couples in crisis. The changes needed include:

More Resources for Court Services

We need better resourcing of the court services to ease the length of District Court lists. It has been known for  courts in County Wicklow, for example, to have over 60 cases listed on any given day. This means that cases are not always heard, despite the best endeavours and work ethic of the sitting judge.

More Family Law Court Sittings

Increasing the frequency of court sittings will assist in the reduction of lists. Outside of the cities, this is critical, as currently most regional District Courts will only hear family law matters once per month. Compare this to City Courts which may hear family law cases every day.

Prioritise Family Law Hearings

Prioritise the hearing of family law matters to at least give equality of hearing time to family law, versus criminal matters. All too often, court days which were scheduled to hear family law cases are given over to criminal hearings. There can be no doubt about how important criminal cases are. But  family law is no less important, though it remains the poor cousin.

Dedicated Family Law Court Structure

Consider the establishment of a dedicated Family Law Court structure throughout the country. These courts would be presided over by Judges who are experts in the area, trained to understand relationship dynamics, and critically, to understand the importance and value of the voice of the child in proceedings.

More Mediation and Arbitration

Channel resources into Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation or indeed arbitration, in an effort to ease the court pressures, and improve outcomes for families in avoiding lengthy disputes.

If you need advice or support on any of the issues raised above, please call Alan Finnerty on 01 637 6200. Or you can email him at alan.finnerty@orpenfranks.ie

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