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Cost of simple divorce

I am on my own for five years with no property or children issues. How do I get a separation and what should it cost? William, Waterford.

Hi William.  I am assuming that because you have five years of separation already you want to get a divorce and I will answer the question on that basis. 

 

The court will grant an order of divorce provided three requirements are fulfilled – you are separated for the required period, that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the needs of a dependant spouse and children are property met.  Assuming that your wife (soon to be ex) is not dependent financially on you then you seem to meet all three criteria. 

 

As to the cost, I would advise against going to an on-line divorce service that is not run by a solicitor.  These companies charge a thousand euro simply for preparing the forms and leaving it to yourself to deal with the court.  They do not give advice or representation and both these aspects are, in my opinion, always valuable to have before you take steps to finalise the divorce.

 

An example of an area that is never considered by a divorcing couple is the question of pension entitlement.  If one is entitled to a pension and the other isn’t, then the court has the power to make a Pension Adjustment Order to allow the person without a pension to have a share in that pension when it eventually comes due.  This is something that a qualified solicitor will be able to advise on. 

 

As to the cost of engaging a solicitor, it will depend on whether or not the divorce is contested and who is applying.  If your ex-wife is making the application there is only a relatively small amount of paperwork, plus an appearance in court on your behalf.  I said on the programme that I know one solicitor in Dublin who is charging €1,000 plus VAT and any out-of-pocket expenses involved to provide this service. 

 

If you, William, are the one who is going to bring the divorce application, then it may be more, simply because of the amount of paperwork involved.

 

My suggestion is that if you have used a solicitor before, call him or her and ask how much it is likely to cost.  If you have a friend who has gone through the divorce process you might ask them what solicitor they used, if they provided a satisfactory service and how much then were charged, and make an enquiry of that firm.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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