Many thanks to Ashley WIlson Solicitors for drawing attention to their Divorce Infographic which provides useful information about making financial arrangements on divorce. While some of the information is UK-specific, the basic principles are correct and applicable to Irish law.
The court should take into account income, earning capacity, property and other financial commitments when deciding on the financial arrangements. However, it’s also worth remembering that the Irish courts are overloaded with cases, as ARC partner Dr. O’Shea’s PhD research showed, and the time is limited to assess the criteria for dividing assets and whether adequate spousal or child financial provision has been made. Often, judges only have a few minutes to consider proposed financial arrangements backed up with affidavits of means, pension statements, spreadsheets etc. Judicial rulings occur in the context of also having to consider parenting plans with complex arrangements under substantial time pressure. This is why we believe it’s better to work out both parenting and financial arrangements over a number of mediation sessions which will be significantly less pressured and less prone to misunderstanding stated figures or proposals. Sometimes, clients can’t agree all aspects of financial arrangements in mediation and may go to court on a single issue e.g. the amount of child maintenance to be paid. Again, this is preferable in our opinion than arguing all issues in court and shows the judge that the parties were willing to reasonably discuss and compromise on most issues.
We’re also quite cautious about agreements worked out without the help of a mediator or solicitors as these may be ambiguous or may not be legally enforceable should one of the parties decide or be unable not to meet their obligations. Oral agreements, in our experience, are fraught with problems and often worse than no agreement at all as parties may compromise their future legal positions by performing what they thought the oral agreement was e.g. paying certain bills, variable maintenance amounts or buying out equity with an unclear rationale for the figures paid.
While arbitration is popular for commercial disputes, we are not aware of family arbitration being offered in Ireland. Family Law Arbitration has been available in the UK since 2012 with training provided by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.
– See more at: http://www.ashleywilson.co.uk/blog/family/#sthash.Y854LBdO.dpuf