Divorce in Ireland

Divorce was only introduced in Ireland in the mid-1990s.  In 2014, there were 3,831 divorces before the courts, up from 3,609 in 2013. There were 3,482 divorces in 2012.

According to the most recent Central Statistics Office figures for 2013 – the   divorce rate here is 0.6 out of 1,000. That compares with 2 per 1,000 for the UK.

The percentage of divorced people versus married in Ireland is 13pc, as opposed to 47pc in Britain

Irish law only allows couples to divorce if they have been living apart for four years, Very often, couples choose to separate before applying for their divorce. This means that much of the financial haggling agreed at separation is reopened for a second time when the divorce finally starts to go through.

If your marriage has broken down, and you fulfil certain conditions, you can then apply for a divorce. In Ireland, you are not legally required to use a solicitor or a barrister. In fact, if you wish, you can choose to represent yourself.
There are some companies offering to provide all the paperwork required for a divorce at a cheaper price than a solicitor – But if there are any issues such as custody of and access to children, maintenance, tax and property law associated with your case, you should probably look for professional legal help.
If you and your spouse disagree about any issue at all, for example, who should have custody of the children, who will own the family home or working out maintenance payments, it is strongly advised that you go to see a family law solicitor. You and your spouse should not use the same solicitor.

If you are applying for a divorce in Ireland, you must submit four documents to the Circuit Court:

An application form (known as a Family Law Civil Bill). This document describes both you and your spouse, your occupations and where you live. It also sets out when you married, for how long you have been living apart and the names and birth dates of your children.
A sworn statement of means (Form 37A). This document sets out your assets, your income, your debts, your liabilities and your outgoings.
A sworn statement relating to the welfare of your children (Form 37B). This document sets out the personal details of the children of the marriage. It describes where they live and with whom. It also describes their education and training, their health, childcare arrangements and maintenance and access arrangements.
A document certifying that you have been advised of the alternatives to divorce (Form 37D). This document is sworn by a solicitor and it certifies that you have discussed the options of reconcilation, mediation and separation.

When all of the necessary documents have been filed, you will be given a date for the court hearing. The hearing will be held in private and you will need to show the court that you meet the requirements of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996. You can read more about the factors considered by a Court in a divorce case here. If the Court is satisfied that you have grounds for a divorce, it will grant a decree of divorce