Some frequently asked questions regarding divorce under Irish Law
Q. What conditions must I fulfill before applying for a Divorce in Ireland?
There are three prerequisties to applying for a divorce in Ireland namely;
i) At the date of the commencement of the proceedings, the spouses have lived apart for four out of the five previous years.
ii) There is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses.
iii) Proper provision is or will be made for the spouse and dependent members of the family.
Q. Is it necessary to go through a judicial separation prior to applying for a divorce?
No, once you are four years Separated (the four years is from the time the marriage broke down) you can start Divorce proceedings.
Q How do I prove that I am four years Separated from my spouse?
In the initial paperwork divorce applicants are required to complete a document called the “Family Law Civil Bill” in which the applicant is required to state the date they married and the length of time they and their spouse have been living apart. In Court you will be asked under Oath to verify this information.
Q. How do you apply for a divorce?
A divorce application begins with the completion of a number of documents Family Law Civil Bill, an Affidavit of Means and/or an Affidavit of Welfare depending on whether there are dependent members of the family. These documents are then Court Stamped and served on your spouse, together with Affidavits of Service i.e. proof of such service. Proof of the sending or serving of all documents including notice of the divorce hearing by sworn Affidavit must be provided. Other documents may be required depending on the response from your spouse.
Q Can I get divorced in Ireland if I married abroad?
Yes, anyone who resides in the Republic of Ireland can apply for a divorce in Ireland.
Q When I serve divorce papers on my spouse what courses of action are then open to my spouse?
When the respondent spouse is served with the divorce papers thay can;
- ignore the papers
- repond by objecting / contesting the divorce
- repond and consent to the divorce
Regardless of their reponse the divorce can proceed through the stages to the final Court Hearing stage at which point the decision to grant or deny the divorce will be made by a family law judge.
If the respodent ignores the papers you will need to serve a 14 Day Warning Notice, Affidavit of Service of such notice and in some cases a Grounding Affidavit. If the repondent objects to the divorce on particular grounds, they then will be required to return the documentation within a particular time frame declaring the grounds under which they are contesting.
Q. Can I apply for a divorce in Ireland if my spouse lives elsewhere in the EU?
If you are resident in Ireland and your spouse is resident in the EU (except Denmark ) you can apply for a divorce as long as you know where your spouse lives. In such cases you must allow 35 days for a response and a further 28 days for the Respondent to file a defence.
Q. How does mediation work and what can it achieve?
Mediation is a process whereby an independent third party helps separating / divorcing spouses to come to agreement about difficult issues such as custody and access to children, the dividing of assets, maintenenace payments, pensions etc. The aim of mediation is to help couples resolve these matters in a constructuve way so that the interests of both parties and particularly those of their children are met.
Q. Is mediation an expensive process?
The Department of Social Community and Family Affairs offer a free Family Mediation Service with offices at throughout the country. They can be contacted at 01/6344320. It should be noted that Mediators are not legal advisors.
Q. What happens if my spouse agrees to a range of conditions regarding custody and access to children, maintenance etc. as outlined in the divorce application but subsequently does not honour the terms of the agreement?
Where a party to a divorce defaults on their obligations you will have to apply to the Courts for follow up action and enforcement of the orders granted.
Q. What financial information must I give to the Court when applying for a divorce?
The Circuit Court Rules state that a Family Law Civil Bill shall be served on the Respondent together with an Affidavit of Means. The Affidavit of Means must include details of your assets, debts, income and expenditure and pension details
Q. What information must I give regarding my children?
The Family Law Court places primary emphasis on the welfare of children. An Affidavit of Welfare must be submitted in all cases where there are dependent children of the marriage. The court must be satisfied that proper provision is made for any dependent children of the marriage and therefore requires details on where and with whom the children live, who cares for them, their education, accommodation, health etc.