Family Law Services


To obtain a Divorce in Ireland the following grounds apply:-

1. Spouses must be living apart for a period in excess of 4 years in the previous 5 years.
2. There is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
3. Adequate arrangements have been made for maintenance and welfare of spouse/dependants.

Proceedings are brought in the Circuit Court or High Court depending on the assets, liabilities and earnings of the Parties.

Divorce will deal with custody, access and maintenance of children, maintenance and succession rights of spouses and pension rights of spouses.


Married couples have the following options:-

1. Separation Agreement drawn up after both Parties have undergone mediation.
2. Separation Agreement
3. Judicial Separation.


Agreement after Mediation

The family mediation service who have an office at Henry Street, Limerick provide a free mediation process to assist couples who are separating to resolve disputed areas regarding financial and other issues. The terms drawn up by the mediator form the basis for a legal separation.


Separation Agreement

A Deed of Separation is a legal written contract that has been negotiated between the Parties which sets out there agreement regarding custody and access to children, maintenance for spouses and children, division of property, succession rights, pension provisions. The Trustees of Pension are not obliged to be bound by the provisions of a Separation Agreement and it is preferable for Parties to protect their pension rights by obtaining pension adjustment orders by way of judicial separation/divorce.


Judicial Separation

An Order can be granted for Judicial Separation by the Circuit Court or High Court where the Parties fail to agree the terms of a Separation Agreement. To obtain a Decree of Judicial Separation, one of the following must apply:-

1. Adultery of the other party.
2. Unreasonable behaviour of the other party.
3. Separated for at least one year prior to making application.
4. A normal marital relationship has not existed between the parties for at least one year prior to the date of the application.
5. The parties have lived apart for at least three years at the time of making application for judicial separation where one of the spouses does not consent to the application.



A Court may grant a Decree of Nullity in the Circuit Court or High Court on the following grounds:-

1. Lack of capacity.
2. One or both Parties under 18 without Court permission
3. One Party already married to someone else at the time of the marriage.
4. Parties of the same sex.
5. Failure to observe formality.
6. Failing to give registrar 3 months notice of intention to marry.
7. Failing to notify the Chief Registrar of previous Divorce.
8. Absent of Consent.
9. One of the Parties did not give full free and informed consent.
10. Incompetence where one of the Parties is able to perform of complete sexual act. The Courts will look for expert medical or psychological evidence to prove incurable incompetence.
11. Inability to perform and sustain a normal marital relationship. This could be for example where the husband is homosexual or the Wife is lesbian.
12. A very severe psychiatric disorder i.e. schizophrenia at the time of marriage.
13. A Decree of nullity allowing the Parties to marry again without the necessity for Divorce, neither party can pay maintenance from each other. A Decree of Nullity does not affect the rights of the dependant children, neither Party can claim succession rights to each others estates on each others death.
14. A church annulment has no legal standing.


Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes physical/mental violence which threatens the safety or welfare of members of the family to include partners, spouses and children.


Safety Order

This prohibits the person from using or threatening violence towards the spouse/partner and/or the dependant children.


Barring Order

This requires a person against the order is made to leave and stay away from the place of residence of the applicant and/or children.


Protection Order

This is a temporary Safety Order, the Court makes this order until such time as a full hearing for a safety order and/or barring order is served.


Interim Barring Order

This is a temporary Barring Order and lasts until a full Court Safety/Barring Order is made.

To obtain a Safety Order the Parties must have lived together for six months during the past twelve months.

To obtain a Barring Order the Parties must have lived together for six months during a nine month period.

If an Order is breached it is a criminal offence and it will be investigated by the Gardai who can take a proceeding against the person for failing to keep to the terms of the safety/barring order.