To achieve a Legal Separation by agreement, there are 3 options: engaging a Collaborative Law solicitor, entering a Mediation process and working out the details of Separation Agreement. More details of each are available via the links below.

COLLABORATIVE LAW

Each party retains his or her own trained Collaborative Lawyer to advise and assist in negotiating an Agreement on all issues which are pertinent to marriage breakdown.

If either party chooses or decides to proceed to Court, then the Collaborative process ends. Both Collaborative Lawyers are then disqualified from the process and can no longer act for either party.

The Association of Collaborative Practitioners:

The Irish Association of Collaborative Professionals promotes the use of Collaborative Law and can be contacted at acp.ie

MEDIATION

The Family Support Agency through the Family Mediation Services provides a professional service to help couples who are separating or have separated to negotiate their own Separation terms.

Both parties must contact the service for the appointment.

The Mediation Service has a full time office in Dublin:

Family Mediation Service
Fourth Floor, Jervis House,
Jervis Street, Dublin 1

Telephone – 01 8747446

and part time offices based around the country.

Mediation – Update

Mediation is a different method of dispute resolution. Change has now been brought about in the legislation by virtue of Statutory Instrument 539 of the 2009 Circuit Court Rules which was effective from the 1st January 2010 as a result of which in Family Law Proceedings a Judge or County Registrar may now adjourn Proceedings for 28 days and invite the parties to use an alternative dispute resolution process to settle or determine the Proceedings or issue. Mediate Ireland which is a Company based in Clonmel now provides Mediation Services all over Ireland. They have opened a dedicated suite of Mediation Rooms in Clonmel just a short walk from Clonmel Courthouse.

Mediate Ireland can be contacted at 1 Dillon Street, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Ireland, telephone: 052 612 3711 or info@mediateireland.com.

SEPARATION AGREEMENTS

If a married couple in Ireland wish to separate and they can agree the terms upon which they wish to live separately they may enter into a Form of Contract called “a Separation Agreement”.

Both parties must consent to the terms of Separation. It is advisable that both parties swear Affidavits of Means setting out their income, assets etc. prior to entering into a Deed of Separation. It is a legally binding Contract setting out the parties rights and obligations to the other.

Issues that can be included in a Deed of Separation are:

  • “Custody/Access in relation to any dependent members of the family”.
  • “Maintenance arrangements”.
  • “Division of property such as what is to happen to the family home etc.”
  • “Succession Act Rights”.
  • “The debts and liabilities of both parties”.
  • “Taxation issues of both parties”.

A Separation cannot deal with matters arising as a result out of Pensions and the Trustees of Pension Schemes are not bound by the terms of a Deed of Separation.

Once parties have entered into a formal Deed of Separation, they are not entitled to issue Proceedings through the Courts for a Decree of Judicial Separation.

However the entering into of a Deed of Separation does not bar parties from seeking a Divorce.

Pension Provisions Arising Out Of Separations

Parties may receive Pension income from a number of sources on retirement.

State Pensions

Private Pensions

Designed for those who do not have access to an occupational Pension. These may be either Personal Pension Plans or Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs).

Occupational Pensions

Provided through the Employer sponsored Pension Schemes.

Spouse’s Provision

Your Spouse may have income from any of the above three sources. In addition a Spouse’s arrangement may provide an income from you in the event of his/her death. Pension entitlements of parties arising from Occupational or Personal Pension arrangements can be affected by Separation or a Divorce. The Family Law Act 1995 sets out the treatment of Pensions in case of Judicial Separation and the Family Law Divorce Act 1996 makes similar provisions in relation to Divorce Proceedings. The Pension Board has produced a booklet – “Brief Guide to the Pension Provisions of the Family Law Acts” and for more detailed information, you should refer to this Guide. The Authority for Pensions is with the Pensions Board and their website is www.pensionsboard.ie.The Family Law Acts require Pension benefits to be taken into account in arriving at a financial settlement in the case of Judicial Separation or a Divorce. The Court can make Orders in one of two ways:

Pension Adjustment Order

By making Orders in relation to some other assets

– for example family home savings.

What is a Pensions Adjustment Order?

A Pensions Adjustment Order is served on the Trustees of the Scheme and is binding on the Trustees. A Pensions Adjustment Order designates “part of the benefits which will be paid from the Scheme to a non member Spouse or person representing a dependent child”. The part of the Pension that is so designated is decided by the Courts.

What cases would the Family Law Acts not apply?

A number of cases where the Family Law Acts do not apply and they are:

  • Judicial Separations granted before 1st August 1996.
  • Foreign Divorce granted before the 1st August 1996.
  • Irish Divorces granted before 27th February 1997.
  • For Separations which are not Judicial, for example Separations by Agreement.

However the entering into of a Deed of Separation does not bar parties from seeking a Divorce. For further information please contact KOD Lyons Solicitors by calling  (01) 679 0780 , or by filling out an on-line enquiry form.

Divorce, judicial separation, childcare and custody applications, separation agreements, resolution of financial disputes, disputes between unmarried couples and advice on civil partnerships and equal marriage provisions. We work closely with TIGALA – the Independent Guardian ad Litem Agency in advocating for and representing the interests of children in childcare proceedings.

KOD/Lyons

Solicitors, Ushers Court
31-33 Ushers Quay, Dublin 8

Tel: +353 1 679 0780
Fax: +3531 675 9588

Email: info@kodlyons.ie

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