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Family Law Solicitors

Separation Agreements

NOTE: Re “Separation Agreements”, please note that MC Solicitors no longer advises on same or formalises them. Where there are a lot of Assets, Properties and Pensions involved in a family law case it is better to go the Judicial Separation route through the Courts.

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. For further information please contact Marion Campbell Solicitors by calling  (01) 475 9345 , or by filling out an on-line enquiry form.

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 Marion Campbell Solicitors by calling  (01) 475 9345 , or by filling out an on-line enquiry form.

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.


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