We’re by nature inclined to want to do things ourselves. There’s an advert in New Zealand about DIY being in our DNA, and so it is for most of us. This isn’t always the case when you take the DIY into the legal arena. Buying a house, administering an estate, getting a divorce – all can be done by citizens, but dealing with regulations and the emotional effects can be too difficult for some. However, if you do decide to go down the DIY route for your divorce and have all your ducks in a row, you can get that divorce decree more quickly and much more cheaply than by going through a solicitor.
Divorce was made legal in Ireland on 17 June 1996. I’d been separated since 1981. I had no contact with my ex-husband, he never had any contact with his son, and I wanted nothing from him. Sounds straightforward. You’d think. I went to a solicitor to see about getting a divorce. She quoted me £3,000. For an uncontested divorce.
Eight years later, I began looking into DIY Divorce. In Ireland, people tend to remain separated but married until they want to remarry, so it was in my case.
I bought a book written by the journalist Micheline McCormack that set out all the steps needed and provided copies of the forms required. All I had to do was type these out and file with the Family Court.
The main reason couples opt for the DIY process is cost, but like any legal undertaking, divorce can be complicated and if there are any issues where agreement cannot be reached, then a solicitor is usually the only option.
Here are the requirements for getting a divorce in Ireland.
- A legal separation is required before looking for a divorce, so the first thing to do is to set up an appointment with a mediation service. The Family Mediation Service is a free service to help Irish couples negotiate their own separation.
- You must have lived apart for 2 out of the previous 3 years. The Family Law Act 2019 clarifies that couples sharing a home but not in an intimate and committed relationship can apply for divorce.
- At least one of you must be living in Ireland, and have lived here for at least one year, when the divorce application is made.
- There must be no chance of reconciliation
- Appropriate arrangements must be in place for the spouse and any dependents.
The Filing Process
A Divorce that is by consent must still fulfill the criteria above and one party is still the applicant and one the respondent.
- The Applicant submits an application form – Family Law Civil Bill – to the local Circuit Court. This form includes the agreements made during mediation as applies to the family home, custody, maintenance, pension and so on.
- The Respondent confirms the application form.
- Both parties provide a sworn Affidavit of Means
- You submit a Notice of Motion and a sworn Affidavit attesting that you have followed the rules for getting divorced and including the final agreed terms.
If you’re going for a DIY Divorce, you must fulfil the above requirements and file for divorce with the correct court in your county. My local Family Court was immensely helpful in ensuring I had the correct documents and answered any questions I had throughout the process.
By the time I got my divorce, Ireland had adopted the Euro currency. My divorce cost me the princely sum of €38! It’s around €300-400 now.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve gone the DIY route or if you’d like more information on the process.