Under Irish law a divorce can only be granted by the Court but the terms on which the divorce can be granted can be agreed by the couple in advance.
The spouses must be “living apart” from each other for at least four years out of the pervious five and there must be no prospect of reconciliation between them and proper (financial) provision must exist or be put in place by the court. It is a no fault divorce system.
Being clear on when the “living apart” started is an important aspect. In some circumstances the court accepts that a couple may have been living apart even while living in the same house if they have operated “separate households”.
Even when a couple have lived apart for the necessary four years, divorce is still an emotional process as it absolutely ends the spousal relationship between the couple and they are no longer married to each other once the divorce is granted.
Parents can be reassured that divorce does not in any way interfere with their relationship with their children.
The court must make sure that proper (financial) provision is made for both spouses and any dependent children of the marriage and it will have regard to the statutory factors as set out on the section on separation. The court can make a variety of ancillary financial relief orders.