How to start a DIY Divorce

The first step to take when deciding on divorce is to consider is this what you really want. A divorce cannot be undone - it is the final termination of a marital union. There are options available for those that feel that their marriage can be rescued. These options are described on our Divorce Alternatives page. Having said that, most people considering divorce have already been separated from their spouses for some time and have moved on to a new chapter in their lives.

If you are certain that divorce is the right option for you, the next thing you will need to do is find out if you are entitled to divorce. There are three grounds for divorce in Ireland which must be satisfied before a divorce application will be accepted by the courts. Firstly, of the last five years, you must have been separated for at least four them. You do not necessarily have had to be living at two different addresses however. If you can show that you were essentially operating two different households from the same address, you may be considered as living apart. You will not be able to apply for divorce if you have been separated less than four years. The second ground for divorce is that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. The final ground for divorce is that both parties (and any children) have or will be properly provided for. Furthermore, you will only be able to apply for a divorce if either you or your spouse is domiciled in Ireland or has been living here for the last year. You can read more about this topic on our Requirements for a Divorce page.

The next thing you should investigate when considering a DIY divorce, is how suitable you are for a DIY divorce. Not everyone is. DIY divorce is most suitable to those situations where both the husband and wife both want a divorce and they have already come to a mutually acceptable understanding of what they expect from the other after the divorce. We have seen some cases in which applicants fully expect their spouses to continue happily with the status quo, only to find out after initiating divorce proceedings that they want something changed. In the vast majority of these cases the divorce went ahead, but delays were involved whilst the parties negotiated a mutually acceptable solution. You can find out how suitable you are for a DIY divorce by visiting the Is DIY Divorce right for me? page. Some of the important subjects to consider are:

  • Custody of any children and access to them
  • What is to become of the Family Home and who gets to live there and for how long
  • Periodical or lump sum maintenance payments
  • Inheritance rights
  • Pensions

If there remains any sort of civility between you and your spouse, it may be beneficial to discuss your intention to divorce with him/her before applying. Receiving unanticipated divorce documents in the post may leave some people apprehensive and on edge. The time limit imposed for a response from him/her may even invoke irrational feelings of alarm or malevolence. Dropping a few hints or having a proper discussion about your intentions may make all the difference in securing a timely, straight-forward divorce.

At this stage, we can start the application. Normally, applications are made online. The online application takes between five and fifteen minutes to complete, depending on whether you have dependent children or not. The questions are very simple and straight forward and we have tried to reduce the amount of typing for you to a minimum. If you are unfamiliar with computers or the internet, we would be happy to post you a paper application form. Simply call us on (01) 5240456 with your address and we'll get one out to you. In urgent cases, we will try to take the details over the telephone. However, the spelling of names and addresses which can sometimes be misheard in a telephone conversation, must be absolutely correct - so we try to discourage this. A couple of days after completing the application, you will receive your initial set of documents for signature in the post (or by email, if you prefer). Following this initial stage, you will receive regular correspondence from us explaining the progress of your application and any instructions for you to follow. Within a couple of weeks, we will be in a position to obtain a court date for your hearing.

Are you ready to proceed? Click through to Apply for Divorce Online to begin the online divorce application.