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Family Law Solicitors

Judicial Separation

Proper provision has been or will be made for in respect of any dependent members of the family.

An Application for a Decree of Judicial Separation is made either in the Circuit Court or the High Court. Cases are heard in private and public is not admitted.

An Application for Judicial Separation must be based on one of the following six grounds:

  • One party has committed adultery.
  • One party has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the other Spouse to continue to live with him.
  • One party has deserted the other for at least one year.
  • The parties have lived apart from one another for one year up to the time of the Application and both parties agree to the Decree being granted.

It is only a Court in this jurisdiction that can grant a Decree of Divorce.

Before a Court can grant a Decree of Divorce in Ireland, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The parties must have been living apart from one another for a period amounting to four out of the previous five years before the Application is made.
  2. There must be no reasonable prospect for reconciliation.

Why engage MC Solicitors?

Marion Campbell has 30 years' experience in family law, a proven track record with precedent setting landmark cases. She is ex-Chair of the Family Lawyers Association of Ireland and is a member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has lectured in the Law Society on Family Law and has published several articles. She provides a personal and caring service on an individual basis to every client.


Ex chair Family Lawyers Association of Ireland.

Member Family Lawyers Association.

Member International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Member Dublin Solicitors Bar Association.

Member American Bar Association Section.

Member ART Section Family Law Committee American Bar Association.

Lecturer - Law Society of Ireland.

Related Case Study - Judicial Separation

Des and Fiona married in 1995. There is one child of the marriage Alan aged 11. Des works for an American multi-national. His job always involved travelling. In August 2003 he was transferred to his Company’s Headquarters in Dallas, Texas for a 6 month period. During that period Des and Fiona decided that Des would travel alone to Texas as both were reluctant to disturb their son in his schooling. In January 2004 Des was requested to remain in Dallas for a further 6 month period. Again both Des and Fiona agreed that Des alone would reside in Texas. In February 2004 Des told Fiona that he was seeing another woman and he did not foresee himself returning to Ireland and resuming his marital relationship with Fiona. Des continued in his extra-marital affair up until August 2004 when at that stage he ended it and returned to Ireland. Des returned to the family home and co-habited with Fiona and Alan. Fiona was hopeful that they could resume a normal marital relationship. Des told Fiona however that he had no interest in resuming a relationship with her and that he only returned to the family home as he wished to develop his relationship with Alan.

Des and Fiona resided in separate bedrooms and mainly kept away from each other. Des used his bedroom as an Apartment in which he had his own television and telephone and he would spend large amounts of time in his room so as to avoid Fiona. Each took care of their respective household tasks but they did have meals together but only when Alan was also there. Both holidayed separately. But on occasion they would go on holidays as families. Both parties shared household bills and maintained a joint Bank Account. Des moved out of the family home in February 2007 and now resides in rented accommodation. He has recently begun a new relationship. Des is of the view that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between himself and his wife.

Living Apart

This represents one of the most popular grounds upon which Applicants seek a Judicial Separation. The time periods required for living apart are dependent upon whether both parties are in agreement as to the Judicial Separation or not. When a party consents to the Application for a Judicial Separation, then the parties need only be living separate and apart for a period of one year prior to the Application. In circumstances where parties do not consent to the Application for a Judicial Separation then the parties must be living separate and apart for a period of three years. The Law however has now developed in such a manner so as to require the establishment of both the physical and mental element to the requirement of living apart. The critical word is household rather than house. It appears clear therefore that parties can be living apart while continuing to reside under the same roof, perhaps for economic reasons.

The leading Irish case in this area to determine “living apart” is that of M.MacA –v- X.McA (2000) to ILRM.48. In this case McCracken J stated in relation to the test for “living apart I do not think one can look solely at where the parties physically reside or at their mental or intellectual attitude to the marriage. Both of these elements must be considered and in conjunction with each other. In summary living apart means something more than physical separation, the mental attitude of the parties is also of considerable relevance. In determining whether the parties are living apart, it now appears that the Courts must look to both where the parties reside and their mental attitude to the marriage.


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