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The Mechanics of Marital Separation & Divorce

The Mechanics of Marital Separation & Divorce
Although one or both of the parties have may have decided to separate and the parties may no longer be living together separation in the legal sense does not commence until the parties have signed a legally-binding separation agreement or the Court has declared them to be separated. Legal separation does not leave the parties free to remarry.

Under Irish Law a couple may not divorce unless they have lived “separate and apart” for four of the last five years.

The terms of separation may be settled in one of four ways:

1. Via a mediation process. The parties themselves negotiate the terms with the assistance of a trained mediator.

2. By a negotiation via their respective lawyers.

3. Through a collaborative law process whereby the couple who are separating sit down with together with their legal advisors all sit down together in the same room in a non-confrontational setting and over a series of meetings seek to reach an agreement which is acceptable on both sides. Collaborative Law is a new concept in Ireland and seeks to avoid the huge amounts of animosity that may be generated in the separation process. Collaborative lawyers are committed to minimizing confrontation between the parties. It also should end up less expensive than going to court.

4. If the separating couple cannot achieve an agreement by one or more of the above means then the Courts will have to make the decision and judicial separation proceedings are issued.

Maintenance, Child Support & Spousal Maintenance
Maintenance is the payment of regular financial support to a spouse or previous spouse in respect of the living expenses either of the spouse/ ex-spouse and/or the dependent children of the union.

Spousal maintenance is generally payable where there is a spouse/ex-spouse who does not have the financial resources to support themselves adequately. In may cases the spouse will not be working outside the home or may only be capable of working on a part-time basis for whatever reason.

Child support or child maintenance which is for the financial support of children is payable to the spouse who is looking after the children on a day-to –day basis.

The amount of maintenance whether child support or spousal maintenance will depend on the respective financial resources and needs both of the separating parties and of their dependent children.

A dependent child is one who is under the age of eighteen years or between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years and attending full-time education.