The process of separation

We would firstly advise anyone going through the breakdown of a marriage to try and come to a mutually agreeable solution themselves before bringing the matter before the Courts. Prior to taking any further action, we fully encourage and facilitate the process of mediation, and we offer comprehensive and unbiased advice on the subject. There are times, however, when the only course of action is to go to court; in such cases, we will be glad to represent you.

When separating or divorcing, a variety of factors need to be considered, including asset division, child custody arrangements, and spousal maintenance. Managing debt is another issue that many separating couples face. In every case, our goal is to find a solution that is feasible and realistic to satisfy your individual requirements. The legal proceedings should be conducted in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of any dependent children in the family courts will make custody and access decisions in family law cases based on what the court determines is in the best interest of the child or children if the parties cannot agree on these issues.

Separation Agreement/Deed of Separation

Separation Agreements are used when married couples decide to separate and agree on the terms of their separation. Separation terms must be agreed upon by both parties. Affidavits of Means should be sworn by both parties before entering into a Deed of Separation.

This document outlines assets, income, debts, monthly expenses, and pensions.
Separation Deeds are legally binding contracts which outline the rights and obligations of each spouse.

A Deed of Separation can address the following issues:

  • Access and custody arrangements for dependent members of the family.
  • Arrangements for maintenance
  • Arrangements for dividing assets and property, including the family home.
  • Financial obligations of both parties.
  • Aspects of taxation that affect both parties.
  • Rights of succession for both parties.

The parties cannot petition the Courts for a Decree of Judicial Separation once a Decree of Separation has been entered into.

It is possible for the parties to apply to court for a divorce if they can satisfy the necessary criteria.

Judicial Separation

It is possible for either spouse of a separating couple in Ireland to apply to the Courts for a "Decree of Judicial Separation" if they cannot agree on the terms of their separation and apartness.

A Decree of Judicial Separation may be sought in either the Circuit Court or the High Court. Public access to the Court room is not permitted: all cases are heard in private. Courts require that the couple has been informed of alternatives to Judicial Separation, including counseling, reconciliation, mediation, and other conflict resolution methods.

In addition to orders regarding family assets, income, expenditures, maintenance of spouses, custody and access, debts and liabilities of the parties, pensions, and succession rights, the Court may also make orders regarding maintenance of children, maintenance of spouses, and maintenance of their children.

The grounds for judicial separation are as follows:

  • One party has committed adultery.
  • One party has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the other spouse to continue to live with them.
  • One party has deserted the other for at least one year at the time of the application.
  • The parties have lived apart from one another for one year up to the time of the application and both parties agree to the decree being granted.
  • The parties have lived apart from one another for at least three years at the time of the application for the decree (whether or not both parties agree to the decree being granted).
  • The court considers that a normal marital relationship has not existed between the spouses for at least one year before the date of the application for the decree.

Due to the fact that neither party must demonstrate liability, the last ground is usually the basis on which a decree is granted.

Remarrying or entering into a civil partnership is not permitted after a judicial separation decree.