Irish matrimonial property division in practice: a case study
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Buckley, L. A. (2007). Irish matrimonial property division in practice: a case study. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 21, 48-83.
This article analyses patterns of property division on marital breakdown in Ireland. At present, little information is available on the operation of marital breakdown legislation (the Family Law Act 1995 and the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996). This is primarily due to a strict in camera rule, which has prevented proper study of judicial decisions; lack of reporting and of written judgments are also problems. Little information is available on the nature or frequency of property orders or agreements. Consequently, practical evaluation and informed policy discussion have been severely curtailed. In an attempt to fill this gap, this study analyses 89 divorce, separation and judicial separation cases, using data collected from 44 private and Legal Aid family law practitioners in multiple locations. The principal focus is on the types of orders or agreements made and the reasons (if any) given for those orders. Differences between private practice and Legal Aid cases are considered, as are regional variations in orders. Consent and contested outcomes are contrasted, as are divorce and judicial separation cases. The impact of factors such as gender, age, employment status, dependent children and marriage duration is analysed. The conclusion highlights key issues and discrepancies which may give rise to concern.