When a marriage ends, the parties can separate and live independently of each other. There are, however, a lot of practical matters that need to be addressed. These include:
- Custody and access of any children
- Who remains in the family home
- Splitting contents of the family home
- How family finances will be managed
There are no legal grounds in Ireland that must be met for a married couple to physically separate so you do not have to apply to the court for an agreement. There are ways, however, to formalize the separation.
Couples should consider attending mediation to reach an agreement. The mediator is not a relationship counsellor and is there to help separating couples come to an agreement together. This is a more cost effective approach. If an agreement is reached, it is drafted into a mediated agreement. This is not a legally binding agreement and is not enforceable through the court.
Deed of Separation
A mediated agreement, or any agreement reached between the parties on their own, can be set out in a Deed of Separation.
A Deed of Separation is drafted by a solicitor. Each spouse should have independent legal advice. Both sides should complete an Affidavit of Means setting out their financial position.
If executed properly, a Deed of Separation is a legally binding contract and can be ruled by the court so that it can be more easily enforced.
- a Deed of Separation cannot deal with pensions so agreements on pensions set out in a deed are unlikely to be enforceable.
- once you have executed a Deed of Separation, you are not eligible to apply for a Judicial Separation.
- a couple remains legally married under a Deed of Separation.
- any agreement in a Deed of Separation is likely to be given significant consideration by a judge in any application for a divorce.
Please contact us on (061) 467 392 if you would like advice on entering into a Deed of Separation or what other legal routes (such as Judicial Separation or Divorce) may be open to you.