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
- District Court Proceedings
- Circuit Court Proceedings
DISTRICT 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.
This is an Interim Order directing a person to cease
using threatening or Violent behaviour against the Applicant
or their dependant children.
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.
THE CIRCUIT COURT
Generally the Circuit Court deals with the break up
of marriages on two different occasions.
- Judicial Separation
- Deed of 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 reliefs 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.