Richard Black Solicitors

Tel: +353 (0)1 825 3400

Options on Relationship Breakdown

We provide the option of reaching agreement of the terms of your separation/divorce/parenting agreement through the method of Collaborative Family Law and encourage people to reach agreement without going to court where possible.

The method of Collaborative Family law offers you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyer without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Family Law allows you to involve and have the benefit of financial professionals, personal and family consultants, child specialists and other professionals all working together on your team while keeping costs at a minimum.

In the event that the collaborative process is not your preferred option we can assist you in negotiating with your spouse/partner through their legal team and in circumstances where it is necessary we will bring an application to court on your behalf.

We will be happy to discuss your needs with you, please contact Doirin Mulligan on 01 8253400 or if your relationship has broken down and you need further information. Or log onto if you require further information on Collaborative Family law.

In summary there are a number of possible options available if a relationship has broken down:


Assuming that the couple are not entitled to a decree of nullity or divorce, they may consider separation – either by means of a separation agreement entered into between the parties or by way of a court order for separation, a “judicial separation”. Separation can simply involve one partner moving out of the family home, though there are often details which need to be agreed between the parties.

A separation agreement provides the parties with an opportunity to agree matters between themselves and will be legally binding. If the parties cannot agree matters they can apply for a judicial separation and allow the Court to resolve all matters.


If a married couple have been living apart for four out of the previous five years and wish to regularise their legal and financial situation, they may consider applying for a Divorce.

Divorce in Ireland is based on a No Fault system, this means that you do not have to provide the court with the reason why you wish to obtain a divorce this is so as to avoid the blame being laid on either party. In order to obtain a Divorce you must be living apart for four years out of the previous five years: This does not mean that you must have entered into a legal separation agreement and in some situations you can even show the courts that you have been separated from your husband/wife for four years while you both continue to reside in the same house, if you were not living together as Husband and Wife; and Proper provision must be made for both parties and any dependants in accordance with their means.

Non Marital Relationships

It is also possible for couples who are in a Civil Partnership, who are legal co-habitants and/or who are Joint Parents to agree terms of separation and matters in relation to custody, access and maintenance for children. If agreement cannot be reached court applications can be made to obtain orders resolving all matters.


In some cases where the relationship cannot be rescued, nullity or divorce should be considered. Nullity means that a marriage never existed therefore the grounds on which a decree of nullity can be obtained are quite limited. We can discuss this option with you in greater detail if your circumstances warrant.

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