AN EXAMINATION OF A HOW A COURT DEALS WITH THE FINANCES IN A SEPARATION OR A DIVORCE.
Separation and Divorce can be very difficult and an emotional journey for the parties involved. Understandably each party wants to protect their own interest especially in terms of the children and financial matters.
Today, I am going to deal with financial matters and how the Court deals with this.
The Irish Court, in deciding the extent of what relief is available to the parties in application for Judicial Separation or Divorce, must ensure that provision exists or will be made for each spouse concerned and for any dependent member of the family concerned as is proper having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
This provision is contained in Section 16 of The Family Law Act 1995 and Section 20 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996. Both sections of the said Acts also prohibits the Courts from making an Order for ancillary relief unless it would be in the interest of justice to do so.
Essentially a Divorce cannot be granted until the Court is satisfied that proper provision exists and will be made for each spouse and any dependant as is proper having regards to all the circumstances of the case. The difficulty with requirement of proper provision is that it is only the Court who can judge whether proper provision has been made or not.
This leads, in practice, to an examination by the Court of each and every settlement agreed between the parties to ensure whether or not proper provision has been made.
There is therefore a wide scope as to what proper provision can be.
Seeking to find a financial settlement early on will be crucial to keeping legal fees to a minimum. But it is also advisable to try come to an agreement with your spouse before or during the proceedings to ensure all assets and finances are divided justly and appropriately.
During this process, we can assist you to determine the right value of your assets and help you reach an agreement.
If this is not possible, then a Court will intervene to work out what is the proper provision for each party.
Carol McGuinness is Head of the Family Law Unit at Early & Baldwin Law Firm