Skip to main content

Parties Can Still Live Under the One Roof Post-Divorce?

By April 30, 2024June 26th, 2024No Comments

In a very interesting decision in the case of R v M in recent months, Mr Justice Jordan reflected the reality for separating/divorced parties in trying to find two separate homes post-divorce where finances are limited. In this case Judge Jordan agreed to ratify the terms of settlement which included a provision that the parties would continue to live under the one roof post-divorce.

The parties had reached an agreement to continue living together after the divorce until the children finished their education. The couple appealed the refusal of the Circuit Court to rule the terms . It is presumed that the Circuit Court’s refusal was on the grounds that under section 15(2)(a) of the 1996 Divorce Act that ‘where a decree of divorce is granted, it is not possible for the spouses concerned to live together’. Evidence was given in the High Court that the couple were living separate and apart in the family home and that the reason they wanted to continue living in the same house was for the benefit of the children and by reason of the inability to fund two houses for the couple.

The Court was satisfied that the parties were motivated by bona fide reasons for continuing to live separate and apart under the one roof and accepted the evidence that they had in fact been living “separate and apart” albeit in the family home since 2017.

Judge Jordan stated that ‘public policy should encourage realistic negotiation and settlement with the view to reducing or avoiding the detrimental impact of the breakdown on the welfare of the children involved’.

This case, while highlighting the very difficult reality for couples in trying to rehouse themselves post-divorce, is a very interesting one and debunks the view that has generally prevailed that living together post-separation/divorce is not a realistic possibility for separated/divorcing couples.

For further information on this or any other Family Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon, Emma Dillon or Aoife Cathcart on 01 2960666.