Legal options following marital breakdown
When a marriage first breaks up, many couples informally separate and live apart. Marital breakdown affects all areas of a person' s life, and most people go on to regulate matters between them in a legal context. There are three different ways of doing this in Ireland:
A separation agreement is reached through agreement between the parties, whereas a court grants a judicial separation or a divorce. Of these, only a decree of divorce dissolves the marriage and allows each party to remarry.
In specific circumstances, a court can grant a nullity decree. The effect of a nullity decree is that the court determines that no marriage ever existed. The law in relation to nullity is complex, and you should always seek legal advice to assess whether the circumstances exist for a nullity application. A Roman Catholic church annulment has no legal effect.