Separation Agreements:

  • This is where the parties can mutually agree the breakdown of their assets and arrangements for any dependent children of the marriage.

Judicial Separation:

  • This is where the Court orders the terms of your separation with your Spouse, in circumstances where you & your Spouse fail to agree terms mutually. All Judicial Separation cases will be heard in private (in camera) and therefore nothing will be disclosed to the public.  This is the procedure with all family law cases


  • Before a Court can grant a Divorce the following conditions must be met;
  1. The parties have lived separate & apart for 2 out of the previous 3 years prior to the Application for a Decree of Divorce. This is in line with the recent Divorce Referendum in Ireland.
  2. There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
  3. Proper arrangements must have been made or will be made for the spouse and any dependent members of the family such as children and other relatives.

Living apart does not mean that you need to reside in a different house to that of your partner, but rather entails that the parties are not living together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship. The Family Law Act 2019 sets out that a relationship does not cease to be an intimate relationship merely because the relationship is no longer sexual in nature.

District Court Applications for Guardianship, Custody & Access to Children, Maintenance and Domestic Violence:

Guardianship: Guardianship means the rights and duties of parents in respect of the upbringing of their children. A guardian has the right to make all major decisions affecting the child’s upbringing, including choice of school, medical treatment, religious matters, health requirements and decisions about leaving the country. Guardians are responsible for the welfare of the child. A mother is a natural Guardian. A married father is a Joint Guardian. An unmarried father may be a Guardian if the mother agrees to a Statutory Declaration being executed or may automatically be a Joint Guardian if he has lived with the child’s mother for 12 consecutive months after 18th January 2016, including at least three months with the mother and child following the child’s birth (Children and Family Relationships Act 2015). We find however that schools, medical practices, etc struggle in accepting this proof of Guardianship and often insist on a Court Order.

Access &/Custody: Custody refers to the day-to-day care and control of the children, while access is visitation with the children.

Maintenance: Maintenance is financial support (money) paid by a person for the benefit of a dependent spouse/civil partner and/or dependent children. Spouses/civil partners are required to maintain each other according to their means and needs. Parents, whether married or not, are responsible for the maintenance of their dependent children.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement about maintenance an application can be made to the court for a maintenance order.

Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is any form of physical, sexual and psychological violence which threatens the safety or welfare of family members and certain persons in domestic relationships. Domestic violence legislation protects spouses/civil partners and children. It offers legal remedies to dependent persons, and persons in other domestic relationships where their safety or welfare is at risk because of the conduct of the other person in the relationship. It also gives An Garda Síochána powers to arrest without warrant where there is a breach of a court order.