At Brady Kilroy, our team of specialist civil litigators boast a vast knowledge and experience in the field of family law. We are experts in domestic arbitration, adjudication and proceedings. 

Family law can be a complex, sensitive and emotive area that often deals with uncomfortable subject matter. We aim to ensure the judicial process, negotiations and settlement involved with your family law case runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

We have significant experience in representing private clients. If you require an assessment of your potential family law case, feel free to reach out to us via phone, email, zoom or by visiting our offices in Dublin 4.

What is Family Law?

Family law is the area of legal practice that focuses on any issues related to family relationships. Typical cases can revolve around adoption, marriage, child custody, divorce and domestic abuse.

In Ireland, family law is dictated by the Family Law Act 1995. In such a wide legal domain, there are many elements of family law that can require an esoteric and in-depth level of understanding, such as:

  • Alimony: an allowance that one spouse is court-ordered to give to their partner, or former partner, during their marital separation or post-divorce. It is a periodic, predetermined sum.

  • Annulment: separate to divorce as an annulment recognises the dissolution of a marriage. It deems it ‘null and void’ as though it never existed at all.

  • Emancipation of minors: a legal mechanism that enables a minor to assume legal responsibility for their own welfare and frees them from the control of their parents or guardians.

  • Parental responsibility/automatic guardianship: mothers and fathers carry legal rights and responsibilities for the care of their children. In Ireland, if a child is born outside of marriage, the mother gains automatic guardianship. If they marry after the birth, the father will automatically become the child’s joint guardian.

  • Applicant vs respondent: the spouse who initially applies for a divorce is the applicant in their specific case, while the spouse on whom the divorce petition is served becomes the respondent.

  • Jactitation: an archaic legal term for an individual’s false assertion that they are married to another party.

Types of Family Law

With such a broad scope for family law cases, there are a number of branches that require specific expertise. These include: 

  • Guardianship and access: married parents are granted automatic guardianship of their children, and this is not subject to change in divorce or separation. It describes the legal responsibility a parent holds for their child by way of decision and the performance of parental duties. Access refers to the windows of visitation granted to the spouse with whom a dependent child does not reside.

  • Marriage dissolution: marriages can be legally terminated through a divorce or a nullity. It can be a drawn-out process that requires determinations on the finances and desired arrangements of both parties.

  • Domestic violence: one of the most tragic and difficult areas of family law, domestic violence can refer to physical or mental abuse in an intimate relationship. This includes but is not limited to controlling or coercive behaviour, threats to spouses and children, emotional abuse, destruction of property or controlling access to food, personal items and transportation.

  • Maintenance: the financial support owed to a spouse in the event of a legal separation. This can be influenced by the financial situation of either party as well as the dependency of any children on either side.

A History of Divorce in Ireland

In 1997 divorce was officially legalised in Ireland, sixty years after the writing of the constitution. It was perhaps the most significant change made to Irish family law, and it shifted the landscape for separated couples nationwide. 

Nowadays, if you want to legally end your marriage you still have the option of a nullity or legal dissolution, or you can apply to the Circuit Court for a divorce. 

Your solicitor is obliged to inform you of alternative options to divorce, e.g. reconciliation, mediation or separation. The process is made far quicker if you and your spouse have resolved outstanding issues ahead of time, meaning proceedings won’t be delayed by lawyers perusing the minutiae of your relationship.

Details that are important to consider include: 

  • An agreement surrounding the family home – which of the parties, if either, will remain in situ? In some cases, the family home may be sold and provisions should be made to ensure the sale goes smoothly and benefits both parties. In other instances, an agreement is made to sell the home after any dependent children reach a certain age. In whatever case, it is a help to have decided on a course of action ahead of a legal assessment.

  • Arrangements should be made regarding children. Ideally, access arrangements that cause minimal disruption to your children’s lives will be agreed upon. If your children are a little bit older, their own desires should be considered when it comes to access for either parent.

  • Financial arrangements surrounding child support and maintenance should also be discussed. The financial situation of both parties should be taken into account as well as the dependency of children on either side.

Once these discussions have been had and both parties are in agreement, you are best served seeking the help of an experienced family law solicitor.

Assess My Family Law Case

In Irish family law, finding an expert solicitor in a timely fashion can make all the difference in deciding the outcome of your case. If you feel you could benefit from an assessment of your family law case, you can contact Brady Kilroy via phone, email, zoom or by visiting our offices in Dublin 4.

Contact Brady Kilroy Solicitors