Steps in applying for a CONTESTED DIVORCE
STEP 1 DRAFT PROCEEDINGS
In order to apply for a divorce in Ireland the applying party is required to file a number of papers in the Circuit Court Office.
i) The Civil Bill (sample)
The Civil Bill sets out the facts of the case and also lists the various reliefs that are sought from the Court and the grounds for seeking these reliefs.
ii) Affidavit of Means (sample)
In each case where financial relief is sought an Affidavit of Means must be filed. This details all the assets, liabilities, income and expenditure of the applying party and allows the Court to determine whether proper provision is being provided.
iii) Affidavit of Welfare (sample)
The Court has an obligation to ensure that the welfare of dependent children is properly provided for and in any case where there are dependant children involved an Affidavit of Welfare must be filed with the Court. This document contains a series of questions which relate specifically to the personal care of the children. It describes where they live and with whom. It also describes their education and training, their health, childcare arrangements and maintenance and access arrangements.
vi) Solicitors Certificate (sample)
Solicitors are obliged to file with the Court a sworn document certifying that they have discussed with their Client the options of reconcilation, mediation and separation.
STEP 2 ISSUE PROCEEDINGS
When all the Documents are filed with the Court they will be issued and stamped by the County Registrar and allocated a specific case number which is called a record number. They will then be returned to the applying party.
STEP 3 SERVE PROCEEDINGS
The documents must then be served on the other party (known as the Respondent) by Registered Post.
STEP 4 - DEFENCE
The Respondent must then decide whether or not the application will be defended. If the Respondent decides to defend the Application, he/she must arrange to lodge in the Circuit Court
i) Entry of Appearance
This advises the Court that the Application will be defended.
This a defence setting out the nature of the defence together with details of the reliefs being sought by him/her
iii) Affidavit of Means
This details all the assets, liabilities, income and expenditure of the Respondent and allows the Court to determine whether proper provision is being provided.
STEP 5 - DISCOVERY
Both spouses have obligations to provide particulars of his or her property and income to allow proper provision be assessd. If one party feels that the information contained in the Affidavit of Means is not adequate or correct, it is open to that party to persue the issue of discovery of documents and their examination. Discovery is essentially a pre-hearing procedure which may be done voluntarily or pursuant to a Court order and is intention is to make available all documents which exist and may be relevant. The purpose of Discovery is to ensure that all relevant information and documents, whether beneficial or detrimental to the parties cases, are produced in advance of the hearing.
STEP 6 - NOTICE OF TRIAL
When the case is ready to proceed to hearing a document called a Notice of Trial is served and filed in the Circuit Court. The case is then put onto the waiting list of cases to be heard by the Circuit Court.