In order to apply for a divorce in Ireland, certain conditions must be met before submitting an application to a court for a decree of divorce. This is a legal document which states that the marriage is officially over, or ‘dissolved, and that either spouse is free to remarry in the future. Before a decree of divorce can be approved by the court, however, the following conditions as summarised below must be taken into consideration by the spouse/spouses seeking a divorce prior to this.

1. Time Spent Apart

The court must be satisfied that you and your spouse have been living apart for two out of the previous three years. Prior to December 1st, 2019, this requirement was four out of the five previous years. In addition to living at separate residences, the Family Law Act 2019 also stipulates that ‘living apart’ can be defined as couples who live in the same home but are not living together as a couple in a committed and/or intimate relationship.

2. Ordinarily Resident in Ireland

In order to apply for a divorce in Ireland, you or your spouse must be ordinarily resident in the State when the application is made. Otherwise, either you or your spouse must have lived in Ireland for at least a period of one year.

3. Reconciliation There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between you and your spouse. If the court feels that there is still a chance of reconciliation, it may refuse to grant a decree of divorce.

4. Make Arrangements for Proper Provision of Spouse, Children, and Others The proper arrangements must have been made, or plan to be made, for the spouse and any dependent members of the family, such as children and other relatives. If plans for provision have not been made, the Court may make orders pertaining to custody of children and access to them, the payment of lump sums and maintenance for children and/or dependant spouse, the transfer or sale of property, as well as other outstanding matters that could be impacted by the divorce. Once all of the above conditions are met, then either spouse is eligible to apply for a Decree of Divorce to the Court.

While you do not legally require a solicitor to initiate divorce proceedings in Ireland, the process can be complex without one. It is therefore strongly recommended that you contact a solicitor who will provide you with professional expertise regarding the complicated issues and required documentation for a divorce to be considered valid in Ireland, as well as what the process will entail for both you and your spouse when seeking to move forward.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*