Parties can apply for a Judicial Separation if one of the following grounds can be satisfied:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion for one year or more before the application
- Separation for one year or more, with consent before the application
- Separation for three years or more, without consent before the application
- Absence of a normal marital relationship for one year or more before the application
Assuming that one of the above requirements is satisfied, then proceedings are commenced by either party attending at their local Circuit Court office with the following documentation:
- Original Family Law Civil Bill and two copies
- Affidavit of Means
- Affidavit of Welfare where there are dependant children
- Notice to Trustees if claiming an order in respect of a pension
Once the proceedings are issued, they 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 judicial separation, 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 Judicial Separation. Unlike Divorce a Judicial Separation does not allow the parties remarry.
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 representativesif applicable.