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Separation and Divorce

When a married couple no longer wish to cohabit, a legal separation sets out the means by which they regularise their affairs. A separation can be achieved by means of a Separation Agreement, or by Order of the Court, when the parties are unable to agree matters.

When a married couple have been living apart for a sufficient period of time, the parties may obtain a Divorce. Article 41.3.2 of the Constitution sets out the ground for Divorce as follows :- At the date of institution of divorce proceedings the court must be satisfied that the spouse have lived part from one another for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least 4 years during the previous five years.

In addition there must be : no prospect of reconciliation and the court must be satisfied that proper provision has been made for any dependent members of the family.

Whether proceeding to Separation or Divorce, the key issues to be determined remain the same, and will centre around the children, if any, of the marriage, and the division of financial and property assets in a manner to ensure that proper provision is made for all parties.

In general, each separation/divorce will include terms to provide for the following :- Custody, Access, and Guardianship of children; Maintenance of spouse and/or children; Division of property and other assets; Pension Provision; Inheritance Rights.


On a human level, what happens to your children is the most emotive element of any break-up and most parents agree that children should always be the number one priority. Their benefit and welfare should come first before deciding any matter, but let’s take a look at what’s involved in this: ….

1.What are the main issues to be decided? From a legal perspective, the main issues to be determined are Custody, Guardianship and Access.

2.Do these issues have to be determined for all my children, even the older ones? Your children will all be classed as dependent up to the age of 18, or if they continue into third level education, up to the age of 23. >>Read More