Divorce & Separation
You may be unsure as to whether you wish to obtain a divorce or merely to separate. Should you decide you do not want a divorce because either you are not ready for such a final step, or for example, you do not want a divorce for religious reasons, then you may choose merely to regularise your separation.
Each option has different pros and cons with different legal implications. Seeking advice at an early stage can help you to find out what is the best option for you.
As specialist divorce solicitors we are able to provide you with the best way to proceed to suit your particular needs and circumstances.
Divorce – What do I need to prove?
In order to obtain a divorce you will need to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
To obtain a divorce in the Irish Courts, it is not necessary for both you and your spouse to live in Ireland.
It will usually take around six months for a divorce to be finalised, but this can be considerably quicker if the application is made on consent between the parties. It will usually not be necessary for either yourself or your spouse to attend court in relation to the divorce proceedings.
Grounds for Divorce
There is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. One of five facts must be proved to satisfy the Court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Three of these facts depend upon you and your spouse having been separated, namely:
That you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least one years immediately before the start of the divorce and your spouse consents to a divorce.
- That you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately before the start of the divorce (your spouse’s consent will not be necessary).
- That your spouse deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce. To prove the fact of separation in the above, it is not always necessary for you to have been living in separate accommodation for two years. The Court may be satisfied if you can prove that for some or all of this period you have been living separately (i.e not as husband and wife) within the same household. The remaining two facts which are most commonly relied upon to satisfy the courts that the marriage has broken down irretrievably are:
- Unreasonable Behaviour – This is where your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her. For behaviour to be unreasonable it does not have to be as extreme as violence, drug or alcohol abuse. It can consist of milder allegations such as your spouse being unsupportive, critical or spending insufficient time at home.
- Adultery – This is an act of sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. For adultery to be relied upon it must have taken place no more than six months before separation or at any time following separation. It is not necessary to name the person with whom your spouse has committed adultery.
Once we have obtained your marriage certificate or certified copy, we can draft your divorce documentation. This consists of the divorce petition and if there are children of the family, a form called Statement Of Arrangements For Children. This form sets out the arrangements that have or are proposed to be made relating to the children, i.e. with whom the children will live and how frequently they will see their non-resident parent.
Finances within Divorce
Many people expect the divorce itself to end all financial ties with their ex-spouse. This is not the case. You each have continuing claims which only the courts can deal with. It is highly advisable to seek legal advice on what you should look out for and what you can do to protect yourself in dealing with financial and property related issues.