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					                               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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