In one of the most positive highlights in recent history, Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality and placed same-sex couples on the same legal footing as heterosexual couples. Despite this, it is a sad inevitability that some marriages simply don’t last – regardless of their gender make-up.
The breakdown of any relationship can be a devastating experience and can be a time of great upset and distress for everyone involved. From experience, we know that it is by far one of the most traumatic experiences for a person to go through and can often be a period of tremendous hostility – one in which accusations and allegations are thrown back and forth between both sides.
We also know that since there is nothing more important than the security and wellbeing of your family, any disruption can be a harrowing experience. Our team of expert divorce solicitors sympathise with anyone who finds themselves in this situation and that’s why we offer a solutions-driven and positive approach in a discrete and sensitive manner.
When a marriage first breaks down, many couples informally separate and live apart. Before seeking a divorce, most will go on to regulate matters between them in a formal legal way by obtaining either of the following:
Separation Agreement – This a legally binding contract setting out each spouse’s rights and obligations to the other. The terms of the agreement are reached either through mediation or negotiation through solicitors. The contract will deal with a range of important issues from the payment of maintenance, to custody and access arrangements for children. It will then be filed with the courts for further protection. Should both spouses wish to get back together, a Separation Agreement can be terminated.
Judicial Separation – If neither party cannot agree to the terms of a Separation Agreement, one or both may apply to the courts for a Judicial Separation. If satisfied that a marital relationship does not exist, the Court may grant a legally-binding separation. The Court may also make decisions in relation to custody of and access to children, the payment of maintenance, the transfer of property, the ending of succession rights, etc. Should both spouses wish to get back together, a Judicial Separation can be revoked if the courts are satisfied that the couple have reconciled.
Unlike a Judicial Separation, a Decree of Divorce not only irrevocably dissolves a marriage, but it allows both spouses to remarry should they so choose. To qualify for a divorce you must be able to meet the following basic conditions:
1. Living apart – you and your spouse must be living apart for two out of the last three years. The term living apart has been given quite a broad definition and can include those who live under the same roof but who lead separate lives (e.g. if you sleep apart and organise your finances separately). [PLEASE NOTE that this is set to change following the recent referendum and will need to be updated to reflect any new legislation enacted]
2. No reconciliation – There must be no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between you and your spouse.
3. Proper provision – proper provision must be made for you and your spouse and any dependent children you have (the courts may have to resolve this matter if there is no agreement between the spouses).
4. Residency – One member of the couple must be living in Ireland.
Although many couples enter into a separation agreement or seek a judicial separation, it should be noted that neither of them are required for an application for divorce. However, if an agreement has been entered into prior to seeking a Divorce, the Court can reverse or change any clause of any agreement – especially if the circumstances have significantly changed.
The process for obtaining a divorce can be quite complex, not only because it is an emotionally-charged period for all those involved, but because it also involves complex issues such as custody and access to children, inheritance rights, maintenance and lump sum payments, occupation of the family home, property matters, and pension rights, to name but a few. For that reason, it is in your best interests to speak to a solicitor with experience representing those who are going through a Divorce. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process. and explain everything to you in practical way. practical easy-to-understand.
Get in touch
If you are facing the difficult decision to Divorce, our team of expert Divorce solicitors are here to provide you with practical and easy-to-understand advice on all aspects relating to Divorce.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you or if you would like to avail of a free, no obligation consultation, contact our Divorce team on 061 361088 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.