Separation and Divorce

Types of Separation

When a marriage or civil partnership ends,there are practical things that need to be decided such as the division of any property and money; where everyone will live, how much time the children will spend with each parent, where that will happen, and how shared parenting will work.Attending to the emotional needs of everyone in the family will also be very important.

Separation can happen completely informally and by agreement in some circumstances, but it is better to put things on a formal, legal footing once everything is agreed.

There are two main ways to affect a legal separation:

  1. Legal Separation by Agreement: where agreement is reached on the matters listed above. This can be done using mediation, or through solicitors’ or
  2. Judicial Separation: where a judge makes the decisions on these areas following legal representation by both parties.

In Ireland, it is necessary to apply to the court for a divorce.

The couple must have lived apart from one another for at least 2 years of the previous 3 years. This 2 year time period applies since 1 December 2019. Before that, the requirement was that people lived apart for 4 out of the previous 5 years.

The Family Law Act allows “living apart” to include situations where people are living in the same home but are not living as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship.

A decree of divorce, once granted, allows both parties to remarry. It does not change joint legal guardianship of any children of the marriage.

Where there is a Deed of Separation [insert link] in place, this can be used as the basis for the divorce if both parties agree it.