Circuit Court Divorce Forms

There is no legal requirement to employ a solicitor or barrister to file for divorce. Either spouse may draft and file the proceedings – though that is not advisable unless there is absolute agreement about every issue to be decided by the judge. He or she will be anxious to ensure that both parties are fully aware of their rights and duties. Whenever there is likely to be a conflict on any matter (such as children, property, maintenance, pension or succession rights), an experienced family lawyer should be consulted. (In England and Wales, couples can pay for a lawyer or retired judge to hold a financial dispute resolution hearing, in which the couple’s finances are examined and they’re given an idea what a judge might award in a full hearing.)

Anyone applying for a divorce in the Republic of Ireland must submit certain documents to the Court and to the other side. Details of the documents and of other technical matters are set out in full in Statutory Instrument No 11 of 2018 and Statutory Instrument No 13 of 2018, which you can order from Government Publications (on weekdays, from 10.00 to 12.30 and 14.30 to 16.00) at 00353-1-647 6834 or by email. The headings and addresses on these sample documents will vary, depending on the area where the applicant or respondent live. A plaintiff suing in person must endorse on the summons his occupation and an address for service (or his email address), where documents can be left for him or emailed to him. Similarly with a defendant suing in person. Where one party does not intend to attend the hearing, the consent must be verified in an ‘acceptable’ way.

If the other party lives outside the State, permission should be sought from the County Registrar to ‘serve outside the jurisdiction’, unless the spouse is resident in an EU state (except Denmark). Since 19 December 2014, Order 14A of the Circuit Court Rules, under the Lugano Convention and Maintenance Regulation, has permitted service of civil proceedings by registered post on a person domiciled elsewhere in the EU ‘without leave of the court’, as long as court proceedings are not pending in another member state. If you serve the documents by post, the respondent has five or six weeks to answer the civil bill.

From November 2017 and October 2018, the Rules of the Superior Courts were amended to allow for the service of proceedings by registered post and the use of email. The earlier changes were introduced under Statutory Instrument No 475 of 2017. The new Rules “facilitate the service of proceedings by registered post, with certain exceptions, and enable parties to indicate their willingness to receive documents in the proceedings by email”. Where the plaintiff (or defendant) is legally represented and the solicitor agrees to receive documents by email, the solicitor must state his (or her) email address.

You should lodge a family law civil bill in duplicate in the Circuit Family Law court office. The office will stamp, seal and return the original civil bill, which you (or your solicitor) must serve on the person against whom the application is being made. The duplicate copy will be kept on the court file.

A hearing before the county registrar takes place after court proceedings have been issued. Both parties must complete a detailed questionnaire which identifies the issues the parties are in dispute about. Before the hearing, the couple must vouch their income and outgoings. The questionnaire (and other forms) are available on the Courts Service website.

In the case of a Circuit Court action, you (or your solicitor) must file