Before you can apply for a divorce you must satify the following legal requirements:
- The spouses have lived apart from one another for a period of at least four years during the previous five years
- That there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses
- That such provision as the court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exists or will be made for the spouses and any dependent members of the family
Assuming that the above requirements are satisfied, then proceedings are commenced by either party attending at their local Circuit Court office with certain documentation including the following:
- Original Family Law Civil Bill and two copies
- Affidavit of Means for both parties
- Affidavit of Welfare for both parties in respect of dependent children
- Notice to Trustees if claiming an order in respect of a pension
When these documents are lodged in the relevant court office depending on where the spouses live, the Court office will “issue” the proceedings.
The proceedings must be served by registered post or personally on the other spouse within certain time frames. If the receiving spouse wishes to defend the case, he/she must file other documents within particular timeframes.
If that spouse does not wish to defend the proceedings or is consenting to the divorce, then an application can be made to the Court for a hearing date. On this date both parties will attend the Court and if the Court is satisfied that all of the paper work is in order he or she will grant the parties their Divorce.
Family law cases are private matters and are dealt with “in camera” meaning that the only people in the Court room on the day of the hearing will be Court staff, the spouses and any legal representatives if applicable.