M v M

 
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The Circuit Family Court

Between
M
Applicant
and
M
Respondent
Abstract:

Family law - Divorce - Property - Division of assets - Concept of matrimonial property - Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989 (No 6) - Family Law Act, 1995 (No 26) - Family Law Divorce Act, 1996 (No 33).

The judgment in the case dealt with the division of property in a family law case. In particular the judgment concerned the extent to which the applicant was entitled to a share in the proceeds of sale of a substantial piece of agricultural property which had been inherited by the respondent and had been licensed out for farming purposes during the marriage. It had been submitted by counsel on behalf of the respondent that the respondent should be entitled to retain the entire of the proceeds of sale of the rural property on the grounds that these proceeds did not form part of the “matrimonial property”. Judge Buckley held that there was no concept of matrimonial property in Irish law as there was in other legal systems. In addition there was nothing in the applicable legislation which put any limit on the extent of the assets of the spouses to which the court could have recourse to when making orders. The respondent had been awarded custody of the two children and would need a substantial sum to purchase suitable accommodation. In the circumstances an equal division of the proceeds of sale would not be equitable. The applicant would awarded 25 per cent of the proceeds of sale. In addition the applicant would receive the entire of the sale price of the family home of which she was the 50 per cent owner.

1

Judgement of his Honour Judge John F. Buckley delivered the 18th day of June 2001

2

The sole issue covered by this judgement is whether the Applicant should be entitled to any share of the proceeds of sale of a substantial piece of agricultural property which had been inherited by the Respondent and had been licensed out for farming purposes during the marriage. The net proceeds of the sale are of the order of £1,400,000.

3

Ms. Dunne for the Respondent has submitted that the Respondent should be entitled to retain the entire of the proceeds of sale of the rural property on the grounds that these proceeds do not form part of the “matrimonial property”. The difficulty I have with this argument is twofold. Firstly there is no concept of matrimonial property in Irish law as there is in other legal systems and secondly there is nothing in the Judicial Separation and Family Law Act 1989 or the Family Law Act 1995 (or indeed in the Family Law Divorce Act 1996) which puts any limit on the extent of the assets of the spouses to which the court can have recourse when making periodical or lump sums order, property adjustment orders, financial compensation orders or pension adjustment orders.

4

The range of “matrimonial property regimes” which exist in civil...

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