Family Law / Dlí Teaghlaigh
It is extremely important in family law matters that the parties concerned including their legal representatives conduct legal proceedings sensitively and responsibly throughout the process. This greatly reduces the emotional stress for each party and in addition can reduce legal fees significantly. It is important to remember that children love both their parents and neither party should undermine or attempt to undermine the children’s relationship with the other parent.
1. Separation Agreement
If the parties can agree and settle all matters between them they can enter into a Separation Agreement. There is no need for legal proceedings however the agreement can be made a rule of Court. This is the least traumatic course of action; it is quick and relatively inexpensive.
2. Judicial Separation
Judicial Separation proceedings become necessary when the parties cannot agree the terms of separation. This involves issuing Judicial Separation proceedings and having to attend Court. It will be necessary to complete an Affidavit of Means and if there are children or other dependants an Affidavit of Welfare. Other matters may arise depending on the circumstances. Most experienced solicitors are familiar with principles adopted by the Courts in family law.
3. Custody and Access
Unfortunately custody and access of children can become a very emotive issue. The fundamental principle here is the welfare of the children. It is always better if parents can agree these matters between themselves rather than have a Court impose terms and conditions which may not suit either party.
It is IMPORTANT to remember that access is a right of the Child.
Again this is another issue which is very emotive and results in a lot of litigation. The Courts have laid down general principles which apply when it comes to maintenance. It is well recognised by the Courts that generally there is dilution of living standards on separation. As a general principle the spouse is entitled to be maintained in the lifestyle they are accustomed to subject to the payer being in a position pay.
As the circumstances change either party can bring an application to vary maintenance.
Most divorce applications will be made to the Circuit Court, but the more difficult cases or cases that involve a large amount of assets, will be dealt with by the High Court.
6. Division of Assets.
Generally all assets acquired during the marriage are considered family assets. The Courts apply certain principals however each case is determined on its own unique circumstances. The general principles include:
– Family assets divided on a 50:50 basis
– Generally where there are children the Mother and the Children are allowed to remain in the family home until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age and or finishes third level education.
– The Courts avoid selling family farms if possible.
As previously stated each case is determined on its own set of circumstances and facts.
We have many years experience in advising clients on family law matters and have acted for parties in the Circuit and High Courts.