Ken Heffernan, Family Law and Divorce Solicitor, is experienced in dealing with these issues and can apply the legal requirements set out below to your particular case to advise you appropriately for your circumstances whether you are in Cork or elsewhere in Ireland.
In Ireland when a spouse wishes to end a marriage an application must be made to the Circuit Court or High Court for an order of divorce, which dissolves the marriage.
The court will grant a divorce if satisfied that:
- The spouses have lived apart for a period or periods amounting to at least four years during the previous five years, and
- there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between spouses, and
- it is satisfied that proper provision has been made, or will be made, for the spouses and any dependent children.
The law provides for what is known as “no fault” divorce as it is not necessary to show that one party has behaved in such a way as to bring the marriage relationship to an end.
In making an order for divorce, the court may also make ancillary (additional) orders in relation to matters such as:
- custody and access arrangements in relation to dependent children,
- financial provision for the dependent spouse and children by means of maintenance to be paid and or lump sum payments,
- exclusion of a spouse from the family home by giving the other spouse the right to reside in the family home, for life or for a fixed period,
- barring of a spouse from the family home by prohibiting that spouse from entering it and from using or threatening violence against the other spouse or their children,
- a Safety Order prohibiting a spouse from using or threatening violence against the other spouse or their children,
- property arrangements in relation to the family home and other family property for the benefit of either spouse and or dependent children,
- financial compensation orders, making provision for the future financial security of a spouse through insurance policies and requiring either spouse to take out a life insurance policy for the benefit of the applying spouse or dependent child and/or assign the benefit of an existing insurance policy to the applying spouse and/or pay the premiums on such a policy,
- inheritance matters whereby the rights of either spouse to inherit from the other spouse may be extinguished. The court must be satisfied that adequate and reasonable provision has been made for a spouse before it will extinguish his or her rights,
- pension arrangements adjusting the pension entitlement of either spouse. The court will usually only make a pension adjustment order if proper provision cannot be made for the spouse and children through the making of other financial or property orders. Where a spouse benefits from the making of an order adjusting pension rights in Judicial Separation proceedings the court may adjust the benefit in subsequent divorce proceedings.
A court order of Divorce gives the parties a right to remarry and the parties should be aware that a divorced person who remarries:
- Cannot continue to claim maintenance for themselves from their former spouse,
- Cannot apply for any share of the estate of his or her former spouse when that former spouse dies,
- Cannot obtain a property adjustment order in his or her favour.
It is important to note that even if you obtain a divorce order abroad that order may not be recognised by the Irish State and any subsequent remarriage may be invalid. Where a second marriage is not valid, the parties are not treated as being married for the purpose of social welfare payments and they cannot make a claim against the estate of the other and cannot seek maintenance against each other. If an invalid marriage breaks down, the parties do not have the protection that the law gives to spouses. An application to the court for recognition of the foreign divorce order or for a decree of divorce in Ireland should be considered in these circumstances.