How quickly can I get separated in Ireland ?

How quickly can I get separated in Ireland ?

In Ireland in order to be separated you can put in place a separation agreement, or you can go through a Court process.

 

If everything has been agreed, then the quickest way to solve all matters is to put in place a Separation Agreement which is a binding legal agreement between the parties usually drafted with the assistance of legal advice.

The main drawback of Separation Agreements and why they are generally not used is twofold:

 

  1. They are much harder to enforce i.e. they do not form part of a Court Order so you cannot go to Court for breach of a Court Order.
  2. If either of the parties have pensions and have reached agreement in relation to the pensions, then the Trustees of the pension scheme will not be bound by the terms of the Separation Agreement. For instance, if on foot of a Separation Agreement a wife is to get 50% of the husband’s pension retirement benefits, on the husband’s retirement the Trustees may not regard itself bound by the terms of the Separation Agreement and not pay out the 50% to the wife.

Court Separation

 A Court Separation, otherwise known as a Judicial Separation, is the most common method by which parties obtain a separation. In order to obtain a Court Separation there must have been no normal marital relationship between the parties for a period of twelve months prior to the issuing of proceedings i.e. lodging of papers to start the process in the Court office. There are exceptions to this twelve month requirement i.e. if the other party has behaved in an unreasonable fashion or if there has been adultery.

The timeframe for a Court Separation will be necessary if the parties cannot agree what should happen on foot of the Separation as clearly a Separation Agreement can only be put in place if the parties are at idem on all issues.

The timeframe for the length of time a contested Court application would take place varies from county to county. In Dublin one would have to allow for a period of twelve to eighteen months for a contested application to be finalised.

If on the other hand the parties have reached agreement, they can enter into Consent Terms which can then be presented to the Court and ask the Judge to rule them. If the Judge rules them (as would normally be the case) then they have the force of a Court Order. It is also possible to make any pension agreements which have been reached between the parties an Order of Court and these can then be served on the Trustees of the pension scheme and are binding on the Trustees. This means that any agreements in relation to pensions will be implemented by the Pension Trustees as intended by the parties.

The timeframe for a consent Judicial Separation is significantly shorter than a contested application and if the parties reach agreement and finalise Court terms, they could have a Court Order obtained within a matter of months.

 

If you require any further advice in relation to any family law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon or Erika Coughlan on 01-2960666.