Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce & Separation

There are three prerequisties to applying for a divorce in Ireland :

1) At the date of the commencement of the proceedings, the spouses must have lived apart for two out of the previous three years.

2) There must be no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses.

3) Proper provision is to be made for the spouse and dependent family members.

No, once you are two years Separated you may start Divorce proceedings.

You will be required to complete a document called the “Family Law Civil Bill” in which you will be required to state the date you were married and the length of time you and your spouse have been living apart. You will be asked under Oath in Court to verify this information.

A divorce application begins with the completion of

1) Family Law Civil Bill,

2) an Affidavit of Means and/or an Affidavit of Welfare depending on whether there are dependent members of the family.

These documents are then Stamped by the Court 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. Depending on the response from your spouse other documents may also be required.

Yes, anyone who resides in the Republic of Ireland can apply for a divorce in Ireland.

When the respondent spouse is served with the divorce papers thay can;

1) ignore the papers
2) respond by objecting / contesting the divorce
3) respond and consent to the divorce

Regardless of your spouse’s response the divorce can proceed through all stages to the final Court Hearing at which point the decision to grant or deny the divorce will be made by a family law judge.
If your spouse ignores the papers you will need to serve a 14 Day Warning Notice, an Affidavit of Service of the notice and in some cases a Grounding Affidavit. If the respondent 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 the divorce.

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 your spouse to file a defense.

Mediation is a process whereby an independent third party helps both parties come to agreement about difficult issues such as custody and access to children, division of assets, maintenance payments and pensions etc. The aim of mediation is to help the couple resolve matters in a constructive way so that the interests of both parties and in particular those of their children are met.

The Department of Social Community and Family Affairs offer a FREE Family Mediation Service and have offices throughout the country. They can be contacted at 01-6344320. Please note that Mediators are not legal advisors.

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Where a divorcee defaults on their obligations you will have to apply to the Courts for follow up action and enforcement of any orders granted.

The Circuit Court Rules state that a Family Law Civil Bill shall be served on the Respondent together with an Affidavit of Meanswhich must must include details of assets, debts, income and expenditure and any pension details.

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. The court must be satisfied that proper provision is made for the dependent children and therefore requires details on where and with whom the children live, who cares for them, their education, accommodation, health etc.

Couples facing the possibility of a divorce face one of these three dilemmas:

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More information on Separation, divorce and dissolution can be found on the Citizens Information website

and you will also find lots of information about Divorce on the Legal Aid Board website under the headings

  • How do I obtain a divorce?

  • What advice will a solicitor give me?

  • On what grounds would a court grant a divorce?

  • Do I need to be legally separated in order to get a divorce?

  • Additional orders

  • Can I remarry or enter into a civil partnership after getting a divorce?

  • Can my foreign divorce be recognised in Ireland?

  • Can I get a divorce if I’m in a civil partnership?