At David Henry and Company, we have quickly acquired a reputation for taking on and dealing with Family Law.  Traditionally this is one of the more demanding areas of law and one many lawyers shy away from.  It involves the client going through one of the most difficult times of their lives and requires a cool head and steady hand to help guide them. We pride ourselves in dealing with the most complicated and difficult cases in a sensitive and practical way.  With experience behind us in District Court, Circuit Court, High Court as well as assisting our clients with Litigation overseas we can provide you with the expertise you need in any of these areas below and more. 


 

Judicial Separation

This requires a Court Application. If one party refuses to engage in negotiation, mediation or the parties simply cannot reach agreement then this option is the next step. It allows the parties to deal with all issues including division of property, maintenance for both children and spouses, pensions and the various entitlements, custody and visitation rights to children. Often agreement can be reached before the matter reaches court and the Court can simply make an order in the terms the couple have agreed. 

Divorce  / A court may grant a Decree of Divorce:

  • - if the parties were married, 
  • - have lived apart for three out of the previous four years, 
  • - have no prospect of a reconciliation
  • - proper provision has been made for them and the children 

Separation Agreements

A Deed of Separation is a document drafted by the solicitors for each party after an agreement has been negotiated.  It can deal with most aspects of the separation including the property and all arrangements regarding the children.  There is no need to attend court and the costs are usually much lower as a result. 

Domestic Violence

We provide advice and assistance in obtaining Safety, Protection and Barring Orders. 

Child Custody/Access

Protecting children from the trauma of the separation is of vital importance and needs to be handled sensitively.  Issues between the parents about the care of the children can be resolved by way of mediation, negotiation between solicitors, settlement meeting, collaborative law or application to the District or Circuit Court. We provide assistance in all these areas with an emphasis on protection of the interests of the children

Guardianship

We provide advice and services on the position of unmarried fathers, grandparents, relatives in loco parentis, co-habiting couples and adoption/guardianship conflicts. Many guardianship arrangements can be dealt with by statutory declaration or District or Circuit Court Orders.  As things currently stand in Ireland an unmarried father has no rights in respect of his children unless he makes application to the court or unless a guardianship declaration is signed by the mother granting him joint guardianship. This is the case even if the couple had been living together for many years. It is hoped that legislation will soon be brought in to bring some equality to fathers rights in Ireland as it puts them in a very vulnerable position if the relationship between the father and mother breaks down. 

Maintenance 

Spousal (Husband/Wife) or for children. 

Partition of Joint Property 

Many unmarried couples, co-habitees or same sex couples have purchased property together only to find the relationship breaks down. We can advise and assist them in dividing their assets and going their separate ways by way of Partition Application. 

Co-habitation Agreement and Separations 

The 2010 Cohabitation and Civil Partnership Act introduced new legislation which changes the rights between certain couples who were cohabiting on or after the 1st January 2011. In some cases parties can become qualified cohabitants which allows them to make application for orders similar to those given in Judicial Separation and Divorce cases such as property adjustment orders and maintenance orders. Couples can elect to opt out of this act by entering into a Co-habitation Agreement which can deal with how they want their property and incomes to be dealt with in the event that they separate. It is similar to the idea of a Pre Nuptial Agreement or pre-nup. 

Pre-Nuptial Agreements 

A phrase we associate with Hollywood more than Ireland this is an agreement that is believed will be of persuasive weight if brought before a Family Law judge after a marital split. Certainly more persuasive than none at all. The legality of the agreement has no actual basis in Irish Law but the current thinking leans towards requiring a judge to have regard to a pre-nup. Having said that a judge is not obliged to disregard such agreements as things stand so even in the absence of new law they still could be a very important agreement to have in place. This is particularly so in second marriages or partnerships where there may be more complicated relationships with step children and wider family groups. With our experience in Family Law we have the expertise to help forsee the possible outcomes of a separation that might never happen, and help you find a fair way to deal with them.

Civil Partnership Dissolutions 

Welcome as the new Civil Partnership Act is, there is little doubt that some couples will find their relationship unworkable and seek to dissolve same. Our vast experience in Judicial Separation and Divorce gives us the expertise you need on advising how to proceed and applying for dissolution of a Civil Partnership. Dissolution of Civil Partnerships can take place if the parties are apart for two out of the previous three years and proper provision has been made.

Parentage disputes