About separation agreements
If a married couple can agree the terms on which they will live separately, they may enter into a separation agreement. The essence of a separation agreement is that it is an agreement. Both parties must consent to the terms of the agreement. It is a legally binding contract setting out each party's rights and obligations to the other. The terms of the agreement are reached through collaborative law, mediation or negotiation through solicitors.
The actual agreement drawn up and signed by both parties is often called a 'Deed of Separation'. When the agreement is signed, it can be made into a rule of court by application to the court. This ensures that all the terms agreed regarding the children can be legally enforced where covered by appropriate legislation.
How to make a separation agreement a rule of court
You must lodge an application in the form of a notice of motion in the relevant Circuit Court office together with the separation agreement and two copies of each document.
The office will give you a date for court. You must serve a copy of the notice of motion on the respondent by registered prepaid post or personal service. You must complete an affidavit of service and swear it before a commissioner for oaths. You should bring the affidavit to court with you on the day.
Maintenance of Spouses and Children Act, 1976 section 8
Page updated:14 December 2011