Family Law

Family Law
There has been a rapid expansion in the area of family law, especially since the introduction of divorce and the subsequent enaction of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. Nobody wants to be involved in Family Law proceedings. The breakdown of a relationship is an immensely stressful and upsetting time for the partners and indeed the children. Legal matters are unavoidably part of relationship breakdown and if not handled tactfully, pragmatically and professionally, they can compound what is already an extremely difficult and stressful time.

We understand how difficult a relationship breakdown can be and we aim to resolve family law issues sensitively and without inflaming the situation unnecessarily.

Marital Breakdown

Marital breakdown usually results in the couple agreeing a separation agreement, obtaining a judicial separation and/or obtaining a divorce. Divorce is not available until a couple have been separated for four of the five years preceding the application for divorce.

Civil Partners

A statutory civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples was introduced in January 2011 under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. The Act sets out the rights and obligations that civil partners have towards each other. These are broadly the same as the rights and obligations of married couples towards each other. The Act does not change the law on issues relating to children, for example, guardianship, adoption, custody, access or maintenance.


Cohabitants are defined in the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 as two same-sex or opposite-sex adults who are:

  • not married to each other, and
  • not in a registered civil partnership, and
  • not related within the prohibited degrees of relationship (broadly speaking, relationships which would make them ineligible to marry each other), and
  • living together in an intimate and committed relationship.

Cohabitants (cohabiting couples) do not possess the same legal rights and obligations as married couples or civil partnerships. Given the limited legal recognition of your relationship, this will obviously have some significant implications for various parts of your life.

If mediation is not successful we can advise you in all areas of family law including relationship and marriage breakdown, separation, divorce, nullity, custody and access to children, guardianship, maintenance and domestic violence.

If at all possible we will attempt to keep your case out of court by attempting to negotiate a settlement or compromise.

If you do have to go to court, family law proceedings are held in private (“in camera”) and are closed to the public and the press.

We can take family law proceedings in the District, Circuit and High Courts.

At all times we will help you to stand back from the emotional trauma and deal with the issues arising in a practical and sensitive way.

If you would like us to help you, or if you would simply like to have a chat to discuss your options, please don’t hesitate to contact us.