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Judicial Separation

When a married couple cannot agree the terms by which they wish to live separately then it is possible for them to make an application to Court for a Decree of Judicial Separation.

A Judicial Separation is granted by a Judge and proceedings are instituted by one spouse against the other in either the Circuit Court or the High Court.

An application for Judicial Separation must be grounded upon one of the following six grounds:-

  • The adultery of one party
  • Desertion for at least one year
  • One party has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the other spouse to continue to live with that Spouse
  • The parties have lived apart from one another for at least 3 years prior to the application to Court
  • The marriage has irretrievably broken down to such an extent that there has been no normal marital relationship between the parties for in excess of 1 year prior to the institution of the proceedings
  • The parties have live apart from one another for one year up to the time of the application and both parties agree to the decree being granted

Upon the granting of a Decree of Judicial Separation by the Courts, the Courts can then make orders regarding custody and access, maintenance, lump sum, secured lump sum, transfer of property between spouses, transfer of pensions between spouses, assignment of any interest in life policy, extinguishment of inheritance rights, an order giving the right of one spouse to reside in the property for his or her life time to the exclusion of the other spouse.

The Courts can also grant a barring order or safety order when dealing with a Decree of Judicial Separation, if one party is encountering domestic violence.

We believe and encourage as a firm that parties should try and reach agreement with the other spouse as to the ancillary orders that are to be made by the Court upon the granting of a Decree of Judicial Separation. We are of the view that everything possible should be done to avoid a contested Court hearing for the benefit of both parties and any children of the marriage. Obviously an agreement that is reached and then ruled by the Court will save considerable time and obviously costs. But we also acknowledge that it is not always possible for an agreement to be reached.

Just like a divorce application the Courts must also be satisfied that when making a Decree for Judicial Separation that proper provision is made for the spouses and any dependent children of the marriage.

For further information and advice regarding your legal rights and entitlements please contact Averil Field by calling on 01 6291155 or completing the online enquiry form.

Useful Addresses:

Legal Aid Board  

Kildare Law Centre
Canning Place
Co. Kildare

Telephone: 045 435777

St Stephens House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 6615811

Family Mediation Services  

Darragh Park
Co. Kildare

Telephone: 045 4381873

Block 1
Floor 5
Irish Life Centre
Lower Abbey Street
Dublin 1

Telephone: 01 8728277


Parish Centre
Station Road
Co. Kildare

Telephone: 045 431695

39 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 4784866

Mediators Institute Ireland  

79 Merrion Square
Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 6618488