Court grants a Divorce where Parties continue to live together post Divorce

The High Court recently ordered that a couple which was still living together could in fact satisfy the statutory requirement of living apart, owing to the fact that they lead wholly separate lives to one another.

The parties had reached a compromise and signed an agreement, however, were unsuccessful when they applied to the Circuit Court to have the terms of settlement ruled.  The Applicant appealed to the High Court as she had been diagnosed with a serious illness and the prognosis for the future was bleak.

The parties were married in 2004 and commenced living separately in July 2017 although they continued to live under the same roof. There were two children of the marriage, both teenagers.

Both the parties and the Court agreed that the said Agreement constituted proper provision and that there was no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the parties.  Although living in the same house, the High Court was satisfied that the parties ought to be considered as living apart due to the following:

  • The Applicant had her bedroom upstairs and the Respondent had his downstairs;
  • The evidence was that they stay in their bedrooms mostly except when they have to eat, and they do that separately;
  • There was no intimate or committed relationship for years and the parties did not spend time together when in the family home;
  • The parties did go on holidays in 2018 because the children wanted to go however, they subsequently had taken the children separately on holidays;
  • The Respondent spent a lot of time away approximately four days in the week and
  • The parties rarely spoke, looked after their own laundry and they avoided using the kitchen at the same time and ate their meals in their respective bedrooms.

Justice Jordan stated that “if a couple can be considered as living apart from one another while living in the same dwelling, provided that they are not living together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship… it is difficult to see any principled objection to a similar arrangement continuing by agreement after a decree of divorce is granted.”

Concluding that the settlement terms would afford “a solution that will minimize stress and upheaval in a family where the mother has a serious illness”, the court granted the decree of divorce.

Link to the Judgment

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