The divorce process in Ireland and how quickly the parties can make their way through it depends on whether the divorce is on consent (the parties agree on all settlement terms) or contested (despite attempts at settlement, matters can’t be resolved between the parties). In this post, I will deal with contested divorce and the steps that generally need to be taken.
Firstly, you must decide where to file your application. You or the Respondent (i.e. your former spouse) must reside, or work, within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court where the application will be filed. There are eight court circuits – Dublin, Cork and six others which in turn cover a number of counties.
The following are the main steps that must be taken:
- The applicant (you or your family law solicitor) files a Family Law Civil Bill with the Court registry office. An Affidavit of Means setting out the financial position of the applicant along with an Affidavit of Welfare if there are any dependent children should be served with the application.
- A copy of the application must be served on the Respondent – this is usually done by registered post.
- You/your solicitor must file a statutory declaration with the Court confirming that a copy of the application was served on the Respondent (difficulties can arise here if the Respondent won’t sign for registered post).
- The Respondent must file an Entry of Appearance if they don’t have a solicitor, or their solicitor will file one if they have been appointed to act on their behalf.
- The Respondent must then file a Defence and Counterclaim with the Court and give a copy to the applicant’s solicitor (or applicant if self-represented). The Respondent must also provide their Affidavit of Means and an Affidavit of Welfare if there are dependent children.
- Both parties must confirm that they have considered other alternatives to a divorce.
- Financial disclosure continues throughout the process until each party is satisfied that full financial disclosure has been made.
- The case is progressed under the supervision of the County Registrar who can make orders to assist in moving the matter towards a resolution, or call a court hearing.
- If an agreement is reached between the parties, terms of settlement are drafted and a date is set for the court to hear and rule on the agreement. The matter must still go before a judge.
- If there is no agreement, a court date is set for a contested hearing and judgment.
At any stage in the process, the parties can hold settlement talks or exchange offers through their solicitors (these are on a without prejudice basis so if the matter didn’t settle and went to a hearing, the Court would not hear of the offers made between the parties unless they choose to disclose them).
At Liston Family Law, as the specialist divorce solicitors Limerick, we strongly advocate for our clients to engage in settlement negotiations and mediation when appropriate. You are the best placed to know your family and what will or won’t work for everyone. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will guide you through the divorce process and help you achieve a settlement that is right for you and for your family.
Please contact us today for an initial consultation to discuss the divorce process in Ireland in more detail.