A decree of dissolution allows both parties to a civil partnership to marry. If a court is satisfied that the required conditions (see Rules below) are met, the court will grant the decree of dissolution, dissolving the civil partnership. When it grants the decree of dissolution, the court may also make orders in relation to the payment of maintenance and lump sums, the transfer of property, the extinguishment of succession rights, pension rights etc.
The fact that the parties must have been living separate lives for a couple of years before an application for a dissolution is made, means that separating civil partners may enter into a separation agreement to regulate matters between them before they seek a dissolution
In any application for a decree of dissolution, the court can review any previous arrangements made by the parties such as a separation agreement, particularly if the circumstances of either party has changed.
When a decree of dissolution is granted, it cannot be reversed. Either party can apply to court to have any orders made under the decree - such as maintenance - reviewed by the court.
Before a court can grant a dissolution, the following conditions must be met:
If these conditions are met, either party to a civil partnership may apply to court for a decree of dissolution.
When applying for a dissolution you will be required to submit 3 documents to the Circuit Court:
There is no requirement to submit a document certifying that you have been advised of the alternatives to dissolution, as is required in divorce applications.
When all of the necessary documents have been filed, you will be given a date for the court hearing. The hearing will be held in private and you will need to show the court that you meet the requirements of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. If the court is satisfied that you have grounds for a dissolution, it will grant a decree of dissolution.
You are not legally required to use a solicitor or a barrister. In fact, if you wish, you can choose to represent yourself. However, there may be complex issues which may make it very difficult to apply for a dissolution without any professional help.
Legal advice and representation is always advisable. If you and your civil partner disagree about any issue at all it is strongly advised that you go to see a family law solicitor. You and your civil partner should not use the same solicitor.
FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an independent, voluntary organisation that operates a network of legal advice clinics throughout the country. These clinics are confidential, free of charge and open to all. Contact your nearest Citizens Information Centre for information on FLAC services in your area. FLAC also runs an information and referral line during office hours for basic legal information.
If you choose to hire a private solicitor, you should be aware that there is no fixed rate of charges for legal fees. You are advised to obtain some quotes before deciding on a legal firm. Contact information for solicitors firms throughout Ireland is available on the Law Society website.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.