The breakdown of a marital relationship is a singularly traumatic and emotionally painful experience.

It brings with it significant and legitimate concerns and anxieties such as –

• Will my children be affected?
• Will be relationship with my children be negatively impacted?
• How will I cope financially?
• Can I stay in my family home?

We provide clear and concise answers to these and so many other questions which arise for our clients.

By providing practical and focused guidance, we assist our clients in achieving sensible and realistic resolution of all issues arising from marital breakdown by:

– Identifying the specific circumstances and needs of each client and their children;
– Guiding the client through the processes which must be undertaken to achieve a resolution of their circumstances;
– Advising on workable solutions to meet the client’s individual needs;
– Empowering the client to achieve a resolution of all matters whether through Mediation, Collaborative Law or Lawyer Assisted Negotiation or, if there is no alternative, by way of court application for Judicial Separation.


Can a marriage survive separation?

Many couples go through serious difficulties in their relationships. However, often couples can come through such difficulties whether by their own efforts or with assistance such as marriage counselling. For many who go to marriage counselling, the experience can not only help to save a failing relationship but can significantly improve the relationship by helping couples to identify and address the underlying causes of the difficulties in the relationship.

Even for couples who actually separate and perhaps pursue a legal separation, there is nothing to prevent them from seeking to halt that process at any time and to seek a full and meaningful reconciliation

How to cope with marriage separation

It is well recognised that relationship breakdown can have a very significant negative impact on the persons going through it. That in turns adversely affects the ability of such person to deal with the process, both for themselves and their children.

Getting assistance to deal with the personal impact of relationship breakdown should therefore be seen as the norm, not the exception. Attending for personal counselling can provide vital help in equipping separating persons emotionally and psychologically to deal with the trauma of breakdown. The absence of that emotional and psychological support can make it much more difficult to navigate relationship breakdown which in turn can result in much worse outcomes for both the individuals involved and their children


Who is entitled to spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one married person not their spouse. It is therefore only available to spouses and not to unmarried partners. The cohabitant act does allow for maintenance claims as

How is spousal maintenance calculated in Ireland?

There are no formal rules or guidelines in Ireland to calculate spousal maintenance. Such a claim only arises where one spouse is financially dependent on the other, usually where one spouse is working and the other spouse is not or has limited income.

The level of maintenance that might be claimed varies with the circumstances of each case. In simple terms spousal maintenance is a calculation of what the claimant spouse claims to be their financial needs as against what the other spouse can afford to pay based upon their income and expenses

Do I have to go back to work when I separate?

One common issue of contention in claims for spousal maintenance is whether a spouse should be obliged to go back to work or increase their working hours, in order to eliminate or reduce the responsibility of the other spouse to maintain them. The answer to this question is very much dependent on the circumstances of each case. The relevant factors include:

– the age and medical history of the person and how that might affect both their ability to work and their prospects of getting employment;
– the employment history and qualifications of the person and how that might affect both their ability to get employment and what income they might be able to generate;
– how long was a person been out of employment and the need for re-training or upskilling
– childcare or other obligations which restrict the ability to undertake work. The cost of childcare is also a significant disincentive to work particularly for those in lower paid employment

Each case must be looked at on its own merits. Creative solutions may also be explored such as agreeing spousal maintenance on a temporary basis until children are older or a person can upskill or retrain.

Do I pay tax on spousal maintenance in Ireland?

Assuming that a separated couple are separately assessed for income tax, then spousal maintenance is treated as income in the hands of the person receiving it. The person paying spousal maintenance can in turn claim tax relief on those spousal payments

It is possible for spouses to elect for joint assessment, even after separation. In those circumstances the person receiving the spousal maintenance may not be liable to tax assuming that the person paying the spousal maintenance is the ‘assessable person’ for income tax purposes.

The taxation of maintenance can be a complex issue and it is therefore always advisable to take both legal and tax advices when considering maintenance arrangements.