If you want to make an application for a Divorce from your spouse you have to satisfy the following criteria before you can do so. You must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for four of the five years prior to you commencing the divorce proceedings.

If you meet that specific criteria you can then commence the process of having divorce proceedings issued. In order to do this a number of documents will have to be completed and lodged with the Circuit Court office in the area you live in or are bringing the proceedings in. Those documents include:

  • An application form / Family Law Civil Bill which describes;
  • Spouses, occupations and where they live
  • Date of marriage
  • Low long they had been living apart
  • Names and birth dates of their children
  • It also sets out a clear statement of what it is that the person who is bringing the case, called the applicant, says was the cause of the breakdown and sets out in detail the claim that they propose to make against their spouse and what relief or orders they are asking the court to make.
  •  An Affidavit of means, a statement which sets setting out your assets and liabilities and your income and expenditure.
  •  An Affidavit of Welfare, a statement which relates to the welfare of the children. This document sets out the details of the children of the marriage, gives general details about where and with whom they live as well as also describing other important issues such as their education and training, their health and childcare, maintenance and access arrangements.
  • It is also necessary to provide a copy of your state marriage certificate


When all of the necessary documents have been lodged in court, the applicant apply to court for a date for the court hearing. This may take some time to come around and there may be a number of procedural applications that need to be dealt with as the case progresses. There will also be the need for a number of case management hearings where procedural issues such as the disclosure / discovery of financial documentation will be dealt with.

When the County Registrar is satisfied that the case is ready for hearing a court hearing date will be allocated. Once the hearing date is set, both parties and their representatives, including barristers, will attend at the Court. There is never any certainty that the case will actually be dealt with on the hearing date as there may be many cases listed for the same day. It is often the case that the matter will get adjourned on a few occasions before it actually gets heard.

The hearing will eventually be held in private. The applicant will need to show the court that they meet the requirements of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996, referred to above such as there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the parties. The Court also has to be satisfied that such provision as the court considers proper having regard to the circumstances that exist or will be made for the spouses and any dependant members of the family.