Divorce and Separation

Frequently Asked Questions
about Divorce & Separation


Q. What conditions must I fulfill to apply for a Divorce in Ireland?

There are three prerequisties to applying for a divorce in Ireland :

1) At the date of the commencement of the proceedings, the spouses must have lived apart for two out of the previous three years.

2) There must be no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses.

3) Proper provision is to be made for the spouse and dependent  family members.

Q. Must I go through a judicial separation prior to applying for a divorce?

No, once you are two years Separated  you may start Divorce proceedings.

Q.  How do I prove that I am Separated for two years ?

You will be  required to complete a document called the “Family Law Civil Bill” in which you will be required to state the date you were married and the length of time you and your spouse have been living apart.  You will be asked under Oath in Court to verify this information.

Q. How do I apply for a divorce?

A divorce application begins with the completion of

1) Family Law Civil Bill,

2) an Affidavit of Means and/or an Affidavit of Welfare depending on whether there are dependent members of the family.

These documents are then Stamped by the Court and served on your spouse, together with Affidavits of Service i.e. proof of such service. Proof of the sending or serving of all documents including notice of the divorce hearing by sworn Affidavit must be provided.  Depending on the response from your spouse other documents may also be required.

Q. Can I get divorced in Ireland if I married abroad?

Yes, anyone who resides in the Republic of Ireland can apply for a divorce in Ireland.

Q.  When I serve divorce papers on my spouse what courses of action are then open to my spouse?

When the respondent spouse is served with the divorce papers thay can;

1) ignore the papers
2) repond by objecting / contesting the divorce
3) repond and consent to the divorce

Regardless of your spouse’s reponse the divorce can proceed through all stages to the final Court Hearing  at which point the decision to grant or deny the divorce will be made by a family law judge.
If  your spouse ignores the papers you will need to serve a 14 Day Warning Notice, an Affidavit of Service of the notice and in some cases a Grounding Affidavit. If the repondent objects to the divorce on particular grounds, they then will be required to return the documentation within a particular time frame declaring the grounds under which they are contesting the divorce.

Q. Can I apply for a divorce in Ireland if my spouse lives elsewhere in the EU?

If you are resident in Ireland and your spouse is resident in the EU (except Denmark ) you can apply for a divorce as long as you know where your spouse lives. In such cases you must allow 35 days for a response and a further 28 days for your spouse to file a defence.

Q. What about mediation?

Mediation is a process whereby an independent third party helps both parties come to agreement about difficult issues such as custody and access to children, division of assets, maintenenace payments and pensions etc. The aim of mediation is to help the couple resolve matters in a constructuve way so that the interests of both parties and in particular those of their children are met.

Q. Is mediation expensive?

The Department of Social Community and Family Affairs offer a FREE Family Mediation Service and have offices throughout the country. They can be contacted at 01-6344320. Please note that Mediators are not legal advisors.

Q. What happens if my spouse agrees to a range of conditions regarding custody and access to children, maintenance etc.  but does not honour the terms of the agreement?

Where a  divorcee defaults on their obligations you will have to apply to the Courts for follow up action and enforcement of any orders granted.

Q. Must I give financial information to the Court when applying for a divorce?

The Circuit Court Rules state that a Family Law Civil Bill shall be served on the Respondent together with an Affidavit of Meanswhich must must include details of  assets, debts, income and expenditure and any pension details.

Q. What information must I give regarding my children?

The Family Law Court places primary emphasis on the welfare of children. An Affidavit of Welfare must be submitted in all cases where there are dependent children. The court must be satisfied that proper provision is made for the dependent children and therefore requires details on where and with whom the children live, who cares for them, their education, accommodation, health etc.


Couples facing the possibility of a divorce face one of these three dilemmas:

  1. I want the divorce but I am not sure if it is the right decision. Since going through a divorce impacts the lives of your children as well as your lifestyle, economics, and marital investment, the pressure to make the “perfectly correct” decision is enormous. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. The best case scenario is to make a decision that is not emotionally based or driven by your ego.
  2. I do not want the divorce but my spouse does. Being in this reactive place will leave you feeling out of control and helpless. You will experience intense emotional devastation as your life will be changing before your eyes without you having any say in the outcome. In addressing this dilemma, you need to ask yourself if you are clinging to familiar, safe ground and to a marriage based on illusions. It is not easy to acknowledge and confront the problems in a marriage, especially when you are feeling so hurt by your partner.
  3. I only want this divorce because my marriage is not working. If this is your dilemma, then you will want to avoid responsibility at all costs by blaming your partner for the demise of the marriage. There will be tremendous preoccupation and anger about how your partner caused you to make this decision. The amount of noise generated from this blaming will be in direct proportion to your unwillingness to risk expressing any of your own fears and sadness. If this doesn’t occur, the divorce proceedings to follow will be riddled with tension and conflict as well as a continuation of the blaming.


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More information on Separation, divorce and dissolution can be found on the Citizens Information website

and you will also find lots of information about Divorce on the Legal Aid Board website under the headings

  • How do I obtain a divorce?

  • What advice will a solicitor give me?

  • On what grounds would a court grant a divorce?

  • Do I need to be legally separated in order to get a divorce?

  • Additional orders

  • Can I remarry or enter into a civil partnership after getting a divorce?

  • Can my foreign divorce be recognised in Ireland?

  • Can I get a divorce if I’m in a civil partnership?