The court may grant a decree of divorce if it is satisfied that: the husband and wife have lived apart for four of the previous five years; there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; and proper provision has or will be made for the spouse and dependent children. Your solicitor must first consider the alternatives to divorce with you such as the possibility of resolving the difficulties in your marriage, making your own agreement with the help of a mediator, legal separation by way of agreement in writing, or legal separation by way of a court order.
Separation can be considered as an alternative to divorce, or indeed a precursor to a divorce, if the parties have not been married long enough to be eligible for divorce. The principal difference between separation and divorce is that a separation does not entitle the parties to re-marry.
In Ireland there are three different ways in getting a separation:
Mediated agreement – The mediation process offered free by the Family Mediation Service assists separating couples with resolving disputes in relation to children, financial support and other issues.
Separation Agreement/ Deed of Separation – A Deed of Separation is a legal written contract that has been negotiated between the two spouses which sets out their future rights and duties to each other. The document is signed by both spouses and witnessed once both parties have agreed to all the terms.
Judicial separation – A Judicial separation can be granted by court where the spouses fail to agree the terms of a Separation Agreement. However there are grounds under which at least one must apply