Politicians in Ireland are calling for changes to the law that would make it easier and quicker to get a divorce.
They say the current system has a ‘detrimental effect’ on separating couples.
In Ireland, couples currently need to be separated for a period of four years before they are able to go ahead with a divorce.
The Dáil is being urged to halve that period to just two years. The private members’ Bill will be brought to the the Dáil next week by Fine Gael TD Josepha Madiga.
The bill will likely be debated in the autumn and if it passes, it would see the Irish public go to the polls for a referendum.
It would follow the 1996 referendum which saw the Irish public vote to get rid of a long standing constitutional ban which prevented separated couples from being allowed to divorce.
The outright ban was replaced with a detailed set of circumstances and restrictions which stated when an estranged couple might be allowed to divorce.
Now, 20 years on, Ms Madiga believes it is time for the law to be updated. She says that her bill has the blessing of both the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice.
One of the laws was that couples must have been separated for four years in order to qualify for a divorce.
While it may be a well-meaning law which gives couples plenty of time to reassess their feelings for one another, it can also be the cause of significant stress and heartbreak.
Ms Madiga, a former family lawyer said: “(I have seen) first-hand the detrimental effect this four-year rule has had on separating couples”
Problems include inflated legal costs, the inability to move on with a new partner, and years of stress and uncertainty for children who are caught in the middle of the situation.
Ms Madiga said: “There are too many separated couples who cannot extricate themselves from each other within a reasonable time-period. This Bill is simple common sense.”