Divorce is the legal end to a marriage, allowing both parties to re-marry if they so wish. Divorces are granted by the courts. Proceedings are heard in private and are relatively informal.
There are two ways to get a divorce in Ireland - either employ a solicitor or do it yourself (DIY Divorce). A DIY Divorce is exactly the same a traditional divorce. You attend the same court, address the same Judge and you obtain the same Decree of Divorce in both cases, officially dissolving your marriage.
Unfortunately, the divorce procedure can prove to be too complicated for someone who doesn't know what they are doing. We have had many cases in which the applicants tried to lodge their own applications, only to have them rejected and returned to them time and time again. Gladly, with the aid of this site, they are all now happily divorced. You can read about some of their experiences on our Customer Reviews page.
Applying for a DIY Divorce
We have greatly simplified the process of obtaining a divorce in Ireland, through the online divorce application. We have reduced the amount of typing for you to a minimum and most questions simply have multiple choice answers. It will only take between five and fifteen minutes to complete the online application, depending on whether or not you have dependent children. From there, we will take care of the rest. You can have a look at the online application by clicking through to Apply for Divorce Online.
DIY divorce is not for everyone, however, and we encourage you to read our section on Is DIY Divorce right for me?.
Thoughout this site you will find a wealth of information regarding DIY divorce in Ireland. We would suggest that you start by reading our section on How to start a DIY Divorce and take it from there.
DIY Divorces and traditional divorces are governed by the same rules and before you consider applying for a DIY divorce, you should be aware of them. The Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 sets these out as:
- “at the date of the institution of the proceedings, the spouses have lived apart from one another for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least four years during the previous five years.”
In DIY Divorce terms, this means that before you can get divorced, you must have been living separate lives for a minimum of fours years (of the past five years).
- “there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses.”
In DIY Divorce terms, this means that before you can get divorced, the Court must be satisfied that the marriage cannot be saved.
- “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.”
In DIY Divorce terms, this means that before you can get divorced, the Court must be satisfied that everyone involved is provided for.
If you have satisfied these conditions, then you can get a divorce. You can find out more about these requirements on our Requirements for a Divorce page.
For a DIY divorce, we would recommend that both you and your spouse want a divorce, and furthermore, that you should be in agreement regarding all matters pertaining to your separation and responsibilities to each other in life after divorce. Issues such as custody of the children after the divorce, visitation rights, maintenance payments, lump-sum payments, ownership of the family home after the divorce, pension rights and succession rights should all be discussed and settled before applying for a DIY Divorce. You should be aware that starting divorce proceedings without having settled these issues, will most probably result in a delay until such a time as both parties can come to a mutually acceptable agreement. If no agreement can be made, and you proceed, the Court will make a decision for you. If you find yourself in this situation, it is strongly recommended that you consult a qualified solicitor who specialises in Family Law and divorce.
There is one exception to this: In the case where you have lost contact with your spouse. Obviously, in this situation, it would be impossible to obtain your spouse's consent to the divorce or agreement on the above matters. This will not prevent you from obtaining a divorce in Ireland, though it may draw out the proceedings somewhat. There may also be extra costs involved.
Timeframe for a DIY Divorce
If you considering re-marriage, you may be anxious about how long it will take to get divorced. It is impossible to give an accurate answer to this question. There are time limits set out in the court rules for the various stages of the case. You may have to wait until a judge is available to hear your case. It is therefore very unwise to make any arrangements (for example, re-marriage) that are dependent on your getting a divorce by a particular date.
Some of the factors which determine how long an Irish divorce will take are:
- Your spouse's promptness in replying to your divorce papers.
- Your spouse's willingness or lack thereof to accept your claim.
- The time of year you make your divorce application. The Circuit Court has terms and sittings and do not conduct Hearings throughout the year.
Please note that considerable delays can be expected if your spouse seeks the assistance from the publicly funded Legal Aid Board. It may take up to six months before he/she gets to speak with a solicitor there.
What to expect in a DIY Divorce
We do as much of the work for you as we can, but we are restricted from performing some tasks which are exclusively reserved for solicitors, eg. accompanying you into the court room. At Irish Divorce Services will assist all the files necessary to lodge your application. Most DIY divorce firms do this and supply instructions in the form of a DIY Divorce Step-by-Step guide. We don't send out step-by-step guides. Remember, we do all the work for you and all your paperwork is managed for you, so that your divorce will be processed in the shortest time possible and with the minimum of fuss. For most people, a DIY Divorce with us will simply involve:
- Signing the court documents
- Signing some sworn statements before a Commissioner for Oaths
- Dropping some letters in the postbox
- A Divorce Hearing before a Circuit Court Judge
The Court Hearing for your divorce is nothing to be anxious about. The Judge will ask a few questions and if he/she is satisfied that you have met the pre-conditions for divorce, he/she will grant a Decree of Divorce. He/she may grant additional orders (eg. Pension Adjustment Order) at the same time. The Court Hearing is relatively informal and should last just a few minutes. There is no need be concerned about this at this stage however, as we'll be dropping you a line a few days before your court date to ensure that you are fully prepared.
Your spouse may also have some responsibilities. In a perfect scenario, your spouse would:
- sign a document to say that he/she consents to the divorce
- supply his/her financial details in an Affidavit of Means
- turn up in court for the final hearing
We will provide your spouse a Terms of Consent to sign and provide the facility for him/her to create an Affidavit of Means and full instructions on what to do. If your spouse is willing to comply with these, your divorce will be considerably more likely to be straight-forward and hassle-free. If your spouse is uncooperative or uninterested and unwilling to comply, there is no need to get anxious. The divorce can go ahead as normal. However, the Judge hearing your case may want to hear from your spouse and may insist that he/she comes to court, or supply and Affidavit of Means, or both. We have had cases in the past where the Judge postponed hearings for this reason and summoned the respondent to appear in court by subpoena. It should be noted that although an uncooperative spouse can delay the granting of a divorce, he/she cannot prevent it.
What does DIY Divorce cost?
The cost of DIY Divorce is set at €449.95 for Self-Managed or €649.95 for Fully Managed. This represents a huge saving compared to divorcing through a solicitor, who may charge upwards of €3000. You can read more about the costs involved on the Cost of DIY Divorce section.