FAMILY LAW DIVORCE: In order to be eligible to apply for a Divorce in Ireland the following conditions will apply: Both spouses must have been living apart for a period of four out of the previous five years There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the spouses Proper provision must be made for spouse and dependants children SEPARATION AGREEMENTS: In the event that you do not fulfil the conditions required in order to obtain a Divorce your may enter into a Separation Agreement in the following ways: Deed of Separation by way of Agreement: This is a written Agreement between two spouses in which important matters such as maintenance, custody of children, living arrangements and future Succession rights can be agreed. The Agreement is signed and witnessed and can form the basis of future Divorce/Judicial Separation proceedings. This form of separation is relatively straight forward; however it requires equal co-operation by both spouses in order to succeed. Judicial Separation: A Judicial Separation is granted by the Courts in circumstances where spouses cannot form a Separation Agreement, or where there are pension issues which cannot be dealt with by way of Agreement. Judicial Separation Agreements can be obtained in either the Circuit or High Court. In order to apply for a Judicial Separation certain conditions apply: The spouses must have lived apart from one another for one year up to the time of the application for separation, and both spouses agree to the separation decree being granted The spouses have lived apart from one another for at least three years up to the time of application for a separation (whether or not the spouses agree to the separation) Either spouse has committed adultery Either spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the other spouse to continue to live together Either spouse to have deserted the other for at least one year at the time of the application for a separation The court considers that a normal marital relationship has not existed between the spouses for at least one year prior to the application for Judicial Separation Mediated Agreement Spouses can avail of the services of a mediator in reaching an Agreement on issues such as maintenance, access to children etc. This non-legal Agreement can then be incorporated into a legal separation on consent by both parties. NULLITY PROCEEDINGS: The effect of obtaining a decree of nullity is that the State does not recognise the marriage as ever having existed and either party is entitled to remarry. Succession rights no longer apply to the spouses and maintenance cannot be claimed by either party. An application for a decree of nullity is a complex procedure and the one of the following conditions must be met: Lack of capacity Non-adherence to formalities Absence of consent Impotence Inability to form and sustain a normal marital relationship. NON MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS: Issues such as custody, access, child maintenance, guardianship, often arise in non-martial relationships and can be dealt with in either the District, Circuit or High Court, depending on the financial status of the parties. CHILD ABDUCTION PROCEEDINGS: Issues regarding child abduction are dealt with in the High Court under the Hague and Luxembourg Conventions. Applications are usually made through the Central Authority of the State in question and any person who takes child abduction proceedings is automatically entitled to free legal aid, regardless of the person’s financial status. Respondents are not automatically entitled to free legal aid and like other legal aid, must be means tested before being granted same.
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