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FAMILY LAW ACT, 1995
Preliminary and General
Short title and commencement.
1. —(1) This Act may be cited as the Family Law Act, 1995.
(2) (a) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as, by order or orders made by the Minister for Equality and Law Reform under this section, may be fixed therefor either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so fixed for different purposes and different provisions.
(b) An order under paragraph (a) relating to, or in so far as it relates to, section 32 shall not be made without the consent of the Minister for Health.
2. —(1) In this Act, save where the context otherwise requires—
“the Act of 1964” means the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964 ;
“the Act of 1965” means the Succession Act, 1965 ;
“the Act of 1976” means the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976 ;
“the Act of 1981” means the Family Law (Protection of Spouses and Children) Act, 1981 ;
“the Act of 1989” means the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989 ;
“conveyance” includes a mortgage, lease, assent, transfer, disclaimer, release and any other disposition of property otherwise than by a will or a donatio mortis causa and also includes an enforceable agreement (whether conditional or unconditional) to make any such disposition;
“the court” shall be construed in accordance with section 38 ;
“decree of judicial separation” means a decree under section 3 of the Act of 1989;
“decree of nullity” means a decree granted by a court declaring a marriage to be null and void;
“dependent member of the family”, in relation to a spouse, or the spouses, concerned, means any child—
(a) of both spouses or adopted by both spouses under the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1991, or in relation to whom both spouses are in loco parentis, or
(b) of either spouse or adopted by either spouse under those Acts or in relation to whom either spouse is in loco parentis, where the other spouse, being aware that he or she is not the parent of the child, has treated the child as a member of the family,
who is under the age of 18 years or if the child has attained that age—
(i) is or will be or, if an order were made under this Act providing for periodical payments for the benefit of the child or for the provision of a lump sum for the child, would be receiving full-time education or instruction at any university, college, school or other educational establishment and is under the age of 23 years, or
(ii) has a mental or physical disability to such extent that it is not reasonably possible for the child to maintain himself or herself fully;
“family home” has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Family Home Protection Act, 1976 , with the modification that the references to a spouse in that section shall be construed as references to a spouse within the meaning of this Act;
“financial compensation order” has the meaning assigned to it by section 11 ;
“Land Registry” and “Registry of Deeds” have the meanings assigned to them by the Registration of Title Act, 1964 ;
“lump sum order” means an order under section 8 (1) (c);
“maintenance pending suit order” means an order under section 7 ;
“maintenance pending relief order” means an order under section 24 ;
“member”, in relation to a pension scheme, means any person who, having been admitted to membership of the scheme under its rules, remains entitled to any benefit under the scheme;
“pension adjustment order” means an order under section 12 ;
“pension scheme” means—
(a) an occupational pension scheme (within the meaning of the Pensions Act, 1990 ), or
(ii) a trust scheme, or part of a trust scheme, so approved under subsection (4) of the said section 235 or subsection (5) of the said section 235A, or
(c) any other scheme or arrangement (including a personal pension plan and a scheme or arrangement established by or pursuant to statute or instrument made under statute other than under the Social Welfare Acts) that provides or is intended to provide either or both of the following, that is to say:
(i) benefits for a person who is a member of the scheme or arrangement (“the member”) upon retirement at normal pensionable age or upon earlier or later retirement or upon leaving, or upon the ceasing of, the relevant employment,
(ii) benefits for the widow, widower or dependants of the member, or for any other persons, on the death of the member;
“periodical payments order” and “secured periodical payments order” have the meanings assigned to them by section 8 (1);
“property adjustment order” has the meaning assigned to it by section 9 ;
“trustees”, in relation to a scheme that is established under a trust, means the trustees of the pension scheme and, in relation to a pension scheme not so established, means the persons who administer the scheme.
(2) In this Act, where the context so requires—
(a) a reference to a marriage includes a reference to a marriage that has been dissolved under the law of a country or jurisdiction other than the State,
(b) a reference to a remarriage includes a reference to a marriage that takes place after a marriage that has been dissolved under the law of a country or jurisdiction other than the State,
(c) a reference to a spouse includes a reference to a person who is a party to a marriage that has been dissolved under the law of a country or jurisdiction other than the State,
(d) a reference to a family includes a reference to a family as respects which the marriage of the spouses concerned has been dissolved under the law of a country or jurisdiction other than the State,
(e) a reference to an application to a court by a person on behalf of a dependent member of the family includes a reference to such an application by such a member and a reference to a payment, the securing of a payment, or the assignment of an interest, to a person for the benefit of a dependent member of the family includes a reference to a payment, the securing of a payment, or the assignment of an interest, to such a member,
and cognate words shall be construed accordingly.
(3) In this Act—
(a) a reference to any enactment shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as a reference to that enactment as amended or extended by or under any subsequent enactment including this Act,
(b) a reference to a Part or section is a reference to a Part or section of this Act unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended,
(c) a reference to a subsection, paragraph, subparagraph or clause is a reference to the subsection, paragraph, subparagraph or clause of the provision in which the reference occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some other provision is intended.
3. —(1) The enactments specified in the Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1)—
(a) orders made before the commencement of Part II under a provision of the Act of 1989 repealed by subsection (1) shall continue in force and be treated after such commencement as if made under the corresponding provision of this Act,
(b) (i) orders or decrees made or exceptions granted under section 1 of the Legitimacy Declaration Act (Ireland), 1868, section 1 of the Marriages Act, 1972 , or section 12 of the Married Women's Status Act, 1957 , before such commencement shall continue in force after such commencement,
(ii) proceedings instituted under any of those sections before such commencement may be continued and determined after such commencement, and
(iii) orders or decrees made or exceptions granted after such commencement in those proceedings shall be in force,
(c) proceedings instituted before such commencement under a provision of the Act of 1989 repealed by subsection (1) may be continued and determined as if instituted under the corresponding provision of this Act and orders made in those proceedings after such commencement shall be in force and be treated as if made under the corresponding provision of this Act.
4. —The expenses incurred by the Minister for Equality and Law Reform, the Minister for Health or the Minister for Justice in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.