Getting a divorce in Ireland-the steps you must take


If your marriage has broken down irretrievably then divorce is one of the options that may be open to you.

Firstly, you need to have been living separate and apart from your spouse for two of the last three years.

Then, you should consider trying mediation and getting legal advice. 

If you still decide that you want a divorce the next step is for the applicant to get the necessary papers in order. Your solicitor will do this for you if you engage the services of a solicitor but you can do it yourself if you choose.

This will be a more straightforward matter if the other party is agreeable to the divorce. If the matter is contested then you should consider instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf and look after all the paperwork and communication with the other party and his/her solicitor.

The applicant will need

  • family law civil bill, 
  • affidavit of means, 
  • affidavit of welfare, 
  • declaration from solicitor about the benefit of mediation

The legal proceedings will need to be commenced by issuing the family law civil bill out of the Circuit Court office. This involves sending 3 copies of documents to the court office for issue.

The next step is to serve the other party (respondent) by registered post or in person. You will need an affidavit of service after you have properly served the other party.

Then, the respondent enters an appearance.

If the respondent agrees to the divorce he/she sends a letter to the applicant confirming agreement to divorce on agreed terms. He/she must also send an affidavit of means and welfare.

If the respondent disagrees he/she must serve a defence and affidavit of means and welfare and file it in the court office. The respondent must also complete an affidavit of service.

If there are agreed terms between the parties about the divorce then you will need to file a motion to obtain a date to have a judge rule the divorce on the agreed terms.

If there is disagreement and it is a contested divorce a case progression hearing before the county registrar will be needed to identify the issues and check all the paperwork is in order before getting into the judge’s list.

If there is no response at all from the respondent the applicant can proceed to obtain a divorce in his/her absence.

Then, the parties will need to attend the court hearing. The Judge will ask the applicant, and sometimes the respondent, to give evidence. The Judge must ensure proper provision for dependent children and all other matters are dealt with to the Judge’s satisfaction. If so, the divorce will be granted.

You will then receive the court order of divorce from the court office.