Most applications for divorce are made in the Circuit Court. In some situations where assets are valued in excess of €3 million, an application can be made to the High Court. Divorce applications are not dealt with in the District Court.
The person who starts a divorce application is called the applicant. The other person is called the respondent.
The Courts Service does not charge either person a fee for making Family Law applications (which include divorce applications). You should discuss fees with your solicitor, legal representative, or mediator if you choose to use their services.
To make an application to the Circuit Court there are a number of steps to take. The information provided below is for guidance only. Always check legislation and court rules to ensure your application is correct. You might want to get legal advice to better understand what's involved.
Consider legal advice and mediation
Before beginning divorce proceedings, both the applicant and respondent will need to decide on getting professional legal advice or representing themselves and consider attending mediation.
Applicant completes and submits initial application
To begin divorce proceedings, the applicant will need to complete the necessary paperwork for the initial application and submit this to the court office.
Serve the documents
The applicant will keep the original application paperwork for their own records. They must also send a copy of this paperwork to the respondent. This process is called serving.
After the respondent has been served the documentation in relation to the divorce, there are a number of actions which they are required to do.
Get a date for the court hearing
Several things need to happen before the case is brought before a judge (also known as the court hearing). This will depend on whether both the applicant and respondent are ready to attend.
Attend the court hearing
When ready, both the applicant and respondent will attend court for the case to be heard by a judge.
Receive a court order
After the court hearing, both the applicant and respondent will receive a copy of the court order as soon as it is ready.