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Divorce & Separation

From 6 April 2011, prior to commencing family proceedings for divorce, it is mandatory that you receive information and advice, either together or separately from your wife/husband, from a Mediator with regards to mediation. To do this you will need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting with a Mediator. The purpose of this is to learn about mediation and other forms of Alternate Dispute Resolutions.

In order to initiate divorce proceedings, it is necessary to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that you have been married for longer than 12 months. In order to prove this break down, one of five facts must be relied upon. These are:

  • Adultery The respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
  • Unreasonable behaviour The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
  • 2 years desertion The respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition. No consent is required.
  • 2 years separation The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent consents to the divorce.
  • 5 years separation The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent consents to the divorce.

On completing all the necessary documentary stages of the application the papers are then placed before a Judge. If the Judge is satisfied, he will then announce the date for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced in Court. Decree Nisi is the first stage of divorce. It is not a final divorce certificate. It is not necessary for either party to attend on this date if the matter is not being challenged. Thereafter, 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of the Decree Nisi, an application can be submitted for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute. A Decree Absolute is a final divorce certificate.

The entire divorce process can take anything between 4 to 7 months to complete depending on the cooperation of the parties.