Getting a Divorce in Ireland
At Hanahoe and Hanahoe, we understand that divorce can be deeply unsettling and stressful experience for all involved. Our clients therefore need clear, unambiguous and pro-active advice from experienced Divorce solicitors. With sensitive, effective and timely family law advice, the process of obtaining a divorce in Ireland, can be completed in a manner that that is both efficient, cost effective and provides a basis for a new and positive future. Divorce in Ireland requires certain requirements to be met (as explained below), including being separated for at least two years. When obtaining a divorce in Ireland, one of three scenarios typically occurs; the divorce in obtained on consent, the divorce is contested and settled out of court, or divorce is contested and obtained by court order after the hearing of evidence. Regardless of the circumstances of a divorce, Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors have the experience and expertise to guide you through the court process.
How to get a divorce in Ireland
Under the Family Law Act 2019, https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/act/37/enacted/en/print.html in order to obtain a Divorce in Ireland, there are four main requirements that need to be meet:
- the separating couple must be ‘living apart’ for at least two years during the three previous years.
- Either party must live permanently in Ireland at the time of the divorce application or have lived in Ireland for the immediate 12 months before the application
- there must be no prospect of reconciliation, and
- arrangements must be made for any dependants.
‘Living apart’ does not mean that the couple have to be living at separate address. It is possible to be ‘living apart’, while under the same roof. In fact living apart has been given a very broad definition under the Family Law Act 2019, where it states ‘spouses who live in the same dwelling as one another shall be considered as living apart from one another if the court is satisfied that, while so living in the same dwelling, the spouses do not live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship, and a relationship does not cease to be an intimate relationship merely because it is no longer sexual in nature’.
Prior to, or during the the course of divorce litigation, the parties can seek to resolve matters by mediation. Under the Mediation Act 2017 https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/act/27/enacted/en/html it is possible for contesting divorcing couples to seek agreement by using the services of a specially trained impartial mediator. Mediation can be highly effective way of resolving disputes as to the divison of the material assets and access arrangements. If an agreement can be found, it avoids the cost of litigation and may to lead to a more cordial relationship between the separating couple. However it is important that you obtain advice from an expert divorce solicitor, before signing a mediation agreement.
Typically there are three different ways in which you can obtain a Divorce in Ireland:
- Divorce by consent in Ireland – This is where both parties agree to terms of the divorce, and the matter can be ruled by the Court on consent. This is the quickest and most cost effective way of obtaining a Divorce in Ireland.
- Contested divorce, settled outside of court – This is where both contest the terms of the divorce, but after entering settlement negoiations, they, through their divorce solicitors are able to reach an agreement, without need for the matter to go to full hearing before the Family Law Courts.
- Contested divorce – This is where no agreement can be reached and the divorce is fully contested before the Court. This is the least desirable outcome for a variety of reasons. It is the least cost effective way of obtaining a divorce, it tends not to be good for the parties relationship going forward and it takes control away from the parties, as they are at the mercy of the judge’s decision.
How long does a divorce take?
The process of divorce in Ireland depends on whether an agreement can be reached or not. In practice, if an agreement on the divorce can be reached and the divorce simply needs to ruled by the Court , the process is completed much faster. Where an agreement can be reached, the process of divorce (i.e. up to the point when the divorce decree is issued by the courts) takes around three months, depending on the Court Listing. If an agreement cannot be reached, it really depends on the complexity of the issue involved in the breakup of the marriage and the divison of the assets. Typically parties would be looking at between eighteen months and two years to obtain a Divorce hearing date.
H3 Steps in obtaining a divorce
Whether the divorce is by consent or contested, the first step is the issuing of a Family Law Civil Bill. This is filed by the applicant, being the initiating party. The Family Law Civil Bill, sets out the applicants case and the various issues that need to be adjudicated in the divorce, such as access, maintenance, custody, the family home and other properties, pension and succession rights.
In order to issue a Family Law Civil, the applicant also has to file an Affidavit of Means and where there are children involved an Affidavit of Welfare. The applicant’s Affidavit of Means is a sworn document that sets out the financial position of the applicant. This will include the all applicants property and financial assets, their income, their liabilities, their expenditure and their pension information. The Affidavit of Welfare, is a sworn document that sets out the care, health and welfare needs of the children.
Once the Family Law Civil Bill, Affidavit of Means and Affidavit of Welfare, have been issued and served, the respondent’s divorce solicitors will file a Notice of Appearance (confirmation that they are the solicitors on record in the Divorce for the respondent), the respondent’s defence and their Affidavit Means and Welfare. The Defence is the respondent’s response to the applicant’s Family Law Civil Bill.
Once the defence has been filed, the divorce will be listed for a Case Progression https://www.courts.ie/case-progression hearing. This is where the County Registrar considers what issues need to be determined by the Court and what the parties need to do to ensure that the Divorce is ready for hearing. Typically the County Registrar will order that valuations are done of the properties of the marriage and that both parties provide full disclosure of all their assets. Once the County Registrar is satisfied that the Divorce is ready for trial, they will issue a hearing date.
When preparing for a Divorce hearing it is essential that you do the following:
- Disclose all you financial information for the twelve months prior to the issuing of the family law proceedings up until the hearing date
- Swear an Up-to-date Affidavit Means
- File a Notice of Trustees
- Have up to date pension statements, which set out the transferable value of your pension or pensions
- Obtain valuation of all properties of the marriage
How much is a divorce in Ireland?
When it comes to the cost of divorce in Ireland, this depends on the circumstances, as outlined above. Factors that affect the overall cost include whether the divorce is contested, the complexity of each party’s arrangements, the number of court hearings required, and the extent to which parties cooperate when it comes to their financial disclosure. Where there is agreement on the divorce, costs are considerably reduced. Contested divorces can be significantly more expensive, as they require far more legal work and require us to engage the services of a Divorce barrister.
Why Choose Hanahoe and Hanahoe?
For those considering divorce, it is important to find a divorce Solicitor in Ireland you can trust and rely on to prioritise your interests and those of your children. Hanahoe and Hanahoe have been successfully assisting clients in Ireland with divorce applications since 1979. Our award-winning team prides itself on its progressive, friendly, caring, and empathetic approach and will guide you through the divorce process and support you at each step of the way.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.