Family Law

Brigid of Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors, with offices in Clonmel, Tipperary and Cork City, has extensive experience in the area of family law. She appreciates that the breakdown of a relationship is likely one of the most stressful life experiences her clients will ever experience.

We adopt a collaborative approach to family law matters. Where possible, we endeavour to reach an agreement which is acceptable to both parties. This can be of great benefit if the parties continue to co-parent their children. Our focus is on providing expert advice in a timely, cost efficient manner.

Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to issue court proceedings to finalise matters. We understand that the prospect of a court appearance can be daunting. Family law cases are heard in private, or in camera, and the Judge who hears your case will be empathetic to your situation.

We offer advices on:

  • Judicial Separation
  • Divorce

  • Cohabitation and Civil Partnerships

  • Guardianship, Custody and Access arrangements
  • Maintenance

If you have been served with divorce proceedings, or if you have come to the realisation that your relationship has irretrivably broken down, contact us to discuss your options.

In order to qualify for a divorce in Ireland, however, certain criteria must be met. These criteria are as follows:

-One or both of the parties must be habitually based in Ireland for at least one year prior to commencing proceedings;
-The parties must have lived separately and apart for two out of the previous three years before filing for divorce. Due to financial or other circumstances, sometimes parties remain living together in the family home. This does not prevent you from obtaining a divorce, but the Court will require evidence that the couple were no longer in an intimate and committed relationship; and
-there is no prospect of the couple reconciling.
-Proper arrangements must have been made, or will be made, for both spouses and for any dependent members of the family, such as children.

The court recognises that the best interests of the children of a marriage are paramount. While children are resilient, it is important that they are protected from the impact of the breakdown of their parents’ relationship. It is for this reason that it can be preferable that an agreement is reached between the parties. We understand that it can be difficult to be impartial during such an emotive time and that is why we believe that solicitors can play such an important role in minimising stress and ensuring an amicable approach to seperation and divorce.

We encourage clients to attend mediation and are happy to assist you through that process as best we can if it is something that you feel might benefit your individual situation.

We endeavour to negotiate with your spouse, or their solicitor, to reach an agreement that is acceptable to everybody.

Sometimes, however, the parties simply cannot agree, and the Court is needed to come to a resolution. We will help you to secure a settlement that is best for both you and your family or, if needs be, provide robust, expert representation for you before the Court.

Many clients who contact us have already come to the realisation that their relationships are irreparable. They find the lack of certainty unsettling and they wish to formalise their position quickly so that they can focus on moving forwards with their lives.

This is entirely understandable.

If it is possible to reach agreement with your former spouse regarding the best way to move forward; a Separation Agreement, also called a Deed of Separation, can be negotiated and drafted to govern the custody and access of any children of the relationship, who will remain in the family home and finances.

The effect of a signed Deed of Separation is that you are legally separated from your spouse and you and your spouse are no longer obliged to reside with one another in the future and custody, access and maintenance arrangements can be made by way of agreement.

Both parties will be required to make full disclosure of their financial circumstances before entering into any negotiations or agreeing the terms of any Deed of Separation.

However, Deeds of Separation cannot adequately deal with the issue of pensions. If you enter into a Deed of Separation, you cannot subsequently issue judicial separation proceedings, you must wait until you qualify for divorce. The Courts give weight to the contents of Separation agreements and so it is important that if you are requested to sign such an agreement, you seek independent legal advice.

There are six reasons a Court may give you a Decree of Judicial Separation:

Behaviour by a spouse such that the other spouse can no longer be expected to reside with him/her.
The spouse has left or forced the other to leave the home for a year before the application for the Judicial Separation.
The spouses have lived apart for one year by agreement.
The spouses have lived apart without agreement for three years.
The marriage has broken down irretrievably for one year.

In granting a Decree of Judicial Separation the Court can make many different orders e.g,  that one spouse maintain the other and the children, that the family home be transferred to one of the spouse, that neither spouse can make claim to the other’s assets when they die, or that part of one spouse’s pension be transferred to the other.

If you require advices in respect of family law matters, contact Brigid to arrange a consultation.

*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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Contact Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors to arrange a consultation.
We can advise you regarding how to progress matters.


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