Divorce Law

What is Divorce?

Divorce in Ireland is a legal dissolution of marriage, permitting former spouses to remarry should they choose to. Incorporated into the Constitution of Ireland in 1995 following a referendum, and further updated in 2019, the law allows divorce under specific circumstances. Formerly, spouses were required to be living apart for four out of the previous five years. However, the current law has reduced this ‘living apart’ period to two out of the preceding three years.

It is imperative that adequate provisions for spouses and any dependent children are in place, and the court must be satisfied that these conditions have been met. The final decree of divorce can only be granted once these requirements are fulfilled and the court is convinced that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This decree legally terminates the marriage, allowing both parties to move forward independently.

Can I apply for a divorce?

Before a court can grant a divorce, the following conditions must be met:

  • the parties must have been married and living apart for a period of 2 years
  • there must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation and
  • proper arrangements must have been made or will be made for the spouse and any dependent members of the family.

Can other matters be dealt with at the same time?

Yes. Additional (ancillary) orders can be applied for in the process of divorce. They are similar to the orders that can be applied for in the process of judicial separation and include custody  and access to children, the payment of maintenance and lump sums, the transfer of property and the extinguishment of succession rights. If a pension adjustment order is required you must secure a court order to bind the trustees of the scheme.

Where a decree of judicial separation was obtained prior to an application for divorce the court can review the arrangements made in the decree of judicial separation when considering the application for divorce.

How long will it take for my application to be heard?

It is impossible to give an accurate answer to this question. There are time limits set out in the court rules for the various stages of the case. Case progression will help ensure speedy progress and adherence to time limits. However, you may have to wait until a judge is available to hear your case. It is therefore very unwise to make any arrangements (for example, re-marriage) that are dependent on your getting a divorce by a particular date. 

Áine McGuigan

Our Family Law Expert

Áine advises clients in relation to all aspects of family law including Separation Agreements, Judicial Separation and Divorce Proceedings. Her approach is to provide step by step guidance and support to clients in achieving the best outcome for them in difficult circumstances Áine can offer sensitive yet sound advice to help guide clients through the financial and legal implications and towards a solution that will allow the parties to move forward with their lives.

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