Legal Separation

Legal Separation

Over the past 10 years while helping people who were seeking legal separation or divorce advice, I came to realise that there was a lack of factual information available for members of the public. The unfortunate result of this has been misinformation and confusion about the legal process of separating or divorcing.

In my experience these are the queries which most frequently arise for clients who are considering separating from or divorcing their spouse.

My top Questions and Answers are:

There is no difference between getting a divorce and getting a legal separation

  • If you have been granted a divorce you are free to marry again. If you have a legal separation whether a judicial separation or a separation agreement then you are still married and cannot remarry.          

Why would I bother getting a legal separation if I cannot remarry?

  • Divorce is only available if the husband  and wife have lived separate and apart for  4 out of the last 5 years. The Courts have interpreted this as meaning that the couple can live separately and apart under the same roof but the marriage must have been over for at least 4 years
  • A legal separation is important as it deals with all the financial issues and means that you can get on with your life relatively soon after your marriage has ended. Otherwise you would have to wait for 4 years after the marriage had ended to get a Divorce.

My wife says the marriage is over and wants to separate but I would like to save the marriage.

  • Usually if one person in a marriage decides it is over then it is over. Things to think about are whether you both could go to relationship counselling together or separately or whether it is possible to discuss the problems. There is no point in rushing into a separation until you are sure that the marriage is definitely finished. Marriage breakdown is hugely stressful and it is a good  idea to have someone to talk to during this time whether it is a counsellor or friend or relative.

I feel that I behaved badly during the marriage and now I feel guilty and don’t want to look for anything from my husband in the separation or divorce

  • Nobody involved in separation or divorce, whether the family lawyers or the Judges is interested in punishing people for past misbehaviour. Misbehaviour is only an issue where it is gross misbehaviour which goes beyond arguing, beyond being out late, beyond being a workaholic, even beyond adultery. A normal reaction to the whole separation or divorce  is to wish to end the process quickly by giving in to the demands of your spouse to give yourself a quiet life. This is a disasterous approach to take in the long term as you will find yourself not properly looked after. Separation or divorce should be about finding a reasonable solution to the problem, not about one side bullying the other or about one spouse giving in to all the demands of the other.

 Do I need a specialist divorce lawyer or family lawyer

  • For  a divorce or legal separation you will need a lawyer who is fully informed and experienced as a divorce lawyer or family lawyer. This does not mean they will only do family law or divorce or separation work but you must have trust and confidence in your lawyer for the divorce or legal separation.

How much will a legal separation or divorce cost?

  • Every case is different and it will depend on a number of factors:
  • the complexity of the matter;
    the urgency of the matter;
    the difficulty or the novelty of the questions raised;
     the skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved;
    the number and importance of the documents prepared or examined;
    the amount or value of any transaction involved;
    the importance of the matter to you;
    the time reasonably spent by personnel in the solicitor’s firm on the matter; the place, or places, and the circumstances in which the matter is pursued.

  • At our first consultation for a divorce or legal separation or separation agreement we sit down with you and give you an initial estimate, based on what we expect to happen in your divorce or separation.

Is mediation a good way of dealing with a separation or divorce?

Yes mediation is a good idea provided both you and your spouse enter into it willingly and work constructively to arrive at a solution. Mediation is not appropriate in cases where parties are not being honest with each other nor where there are allegations of domestic violence.

At Keith Walsh solicitors we have a list of approved mediators who are experts at reaching a solution to marriage difficulties. As well as engaging with the mediator it is essential that both  you and your spouse get independent legal advice so that any agreement you reach is legally fair and so as to prevent any future problems. We have extensive experience of assisting mediation by providing independent legal advice to husbands and wives who can then have their mediation agreement turned into an amicable separation or divorce.

Communicating with you quickly and effectively is very important to us. If you contact us by telephone or by email you will get a speedy response from us and we keep all our clients up to date on their cases. We act for clients from all over Dublin, including local clients from Crumlin, Kimmage, Walkinstown, Terenure, Templeogue, Knocklyon, Firhouse, Tallaght, Terenure, Rathgar, Rathfarnham, Dundrum, south Dublin and north Dublin.