Flanagan Solicitors have a particularly strong interest in this area of Law. When a marriage/relationship breaks down it can be the most stressful time any person can endure in their life time. We recognise the importance of acting swiftly to once again regularise a persons affairs in such circumstances. The reality is that no two relationships/marriages are the same and that your case will be unique. We understand this and give each of our clients the time needed for them to fully explain their circumstances and for us to identify their particular problems, needs and thereby the solution".
The following is a brief description of some of the matters which may arise in dealing with Family Law matters. It is in no way an exhaustive account of remedies available to a person and we recommend a consultation with your Solicitor to discuss your individual case


Both of the Partners in our firm have a deep understanding of the Legal Issues relating to Family Law. The Firm is the holder of a Family Law Legal Aid Certificate and both partners have practiced extensively in the area for many years.

Proceedings relating to Family Law matters are always held in Private or “in Camera”. This means that only the parties, their Legal Representatives, the Judge and Court staff are allowed to be present in the Court at the time of the Hearing.

Proceedings relating to Family Law may be divided into two main headings

  1. District Court Proceedings
  2. Circuit Court Proceedings



Proceedings taken in the Family Law District Court are generally taken under three Acts:-

  • Domestic Violence Act 1996
  • Guardianship of Infants Act 1964
  • Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses )Act 1976.

Domestic Violence Act

Proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act 1996 may be taken where a partner or spouse has been violent or has behaved inappropriately and the legislation allows for the following remedies:-

Barring Order:
This is an Order preventing a spouse or partner(in certain circumstances) entering the place where the Applicant resides or using or threatening to use violence against the other Applicant or a dependant family member.

Interim Barring Order
This allows the Applicant to obtain an Order pending the hearing of the Barring Order application.

Protection Order
This is an Interim Order directing a person to cease using threatening or Violent behaviour against the Applicant or their dependant children.

Safety Order
This is an Order prohibiting a person from repeating acts of violence or threats of violence.

Neither a Safety Order nor a Protection Order prevents a person entering a Family Home.

Guardianship of Infants Act.

This Act covers the Guardianship of Children along with Custody and Access. Applications are generally heard before a Judge in the District Court.
The Guardianship of a child relates the Group of Rights and responsibilities automatically vested in the parents of a child where the parents are married and solely in the mother of a child whose parents are not married. The Act allows for the father to apply to the Court to be appointed a Guardian and who is then given the same rights as a father who is married to the mother of the child.

Custody is also dealt with under this act which is the right of the physical care and control of the child. Access is the right granted to the non custodial parent to see a child.

Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses )Act

This Act covers the payment by one spouse for the upkeep of the other spouse and any dependant children of a marriage. Maintenance may also be paid to the Custodial Parent of a child whose parents are not married however.

All of the above applications may also be applied for in the Circuit Court where either the value of maintenance which is claimed exceeds the amount allowed to be Ordered by a District Court Judge or where there are other applications before the Circuit Court in the matter.



Generally the Circuit Court deals with the break up of marriages on two different occasions.

  • Judicial Separation
  • Deed of Separation
  • Divorce

Judicial Separation
Judicial Separation applications are made to the Circuit Court through the Circuit Court Office where the parties no longer wish to live together and they wish to regularise their position. Judicial Separation is generally the result of the inability of one or both parties in a break up being able to agree to the terms of a Deed of Separation. For the Court to Grant a Decree of Judicial Separation certain provisions mus apply for example one of the parties has committed adultery or the parties have been living apart for more than one year.

A Deed of Seperation
A Deed of Separation allows the parties to separate without the expense of going to Court. Where negotiations break down one party generally then applies to the Circuit for a Judicial Separation and the court then is asked to intervene to resolve issues between the parties. All issues relating to the break up of Marriage may be dealt with here including the provision for Financial Relief of one Spouse, The sale of Property and the transferring of rights under a Pension or Pensions.

Under the terms of the Family Law(Divorce) Act 1996 the parties to a marriage must have live apart for a period of a minimum of four out of the last five years. A Divorce allows the parties to remarry and also provides for the security of the “Dependant” spouse and Decree of Divorce may not be granted. There must be no reasonable prospect of the reconciliation between the parties. All of the relief’s referred to in the Judicial Separation Act are available to the parties on applying to the Court for a Decree of Divorce. Where an application for Divorce is made to the Court the Court may review any previous arrangements made by the parties such as a separation agreement particularly if the circumstances of one of the parties has changed

The main difference between the Divorce and Judicial Separation is that where a couple are Divorced one or either of them may then remarry.

General Information