Complex Family Law

What We Do

The breakdown of a relationship is one of the most stressful events in your life. As family law solicitors, we hope that we can make things a little easier for you by giving you all the help you need to fully understand the legal and practical consequences of the breakdown of your relationship. We will help relieve some of the uncertainty of your very difficult situation.

We will work closely with you to reach a satisfactory resolution. Our aim is to resolve matters amicably. If that is not possible we will assist you with the family court process.

We will advise and guide you through every step of the family law courts process and explain to you clearly the position of family law in Ireland. In matters involving guardianship, custody and access, we are sensitive to the needs of children and work towards a resolution which will minimise the impact of litigation upon them.


Complex Family Law

Complex family law cases may involve business ownership, investments, wealth planning, business wealth management, wealth protection, inheritance, professional practice or complex property and asset holdings. If there is a divorce or separation and there is business involved, it is recommended that solicitors are experienced in both family law and business law. The following is an example of the type of case we deal with (these facts do not refer to any particular case).

Mr. X was the owner of substantial business interests including shares in a manufacturing company, rented property in negative equity, development land and two farms. In addition he had various investments in shares, bonds and bank accounts. The family lived in a substantial family home and had a holiday home in France and a share in a holiday home in Florida.

Mrs. X at all times stayed at home to mind her children and never played any part in the family finances. There was always sufficient money to fund the family expenses and she had access to a current account and a credit card which was replenished by her husband.

Unfortunately, the marriage has now broken down after twenty five years and matters haven’t been solved amicably despite efforts at mediation. The couple are now divorcing and need to seek help from family law specialists and divorce solicitors to sort out their complex legal affairs.

While these are not the facts of a particular case, this story is similar to that of many of our family law clients. These cases are very complex because of the many assets that are involved.

Where we act for the woman in a divorce such as this one, our job will be to ensure that the husband is not hiding assets and to reach a fair settlement for the wife.

Where we act for the man in this kind of divorce, our job will be to reach a fair solution as regards the division of property which doesn’t damage the ability of his businesses to continue to earn.

Often individuals seeking to protect their wealth will enter a prenuptial agreement. These agreements are not yet enforceable in an Irish Court but they may help to outline to the Court the background to the marriage and the attitude of the parties at the outset.

Each complex family law case will be different but the best family law and divorce firm will provide painstaking attention to detail combined with a sympathetic and understanding approach. What is also required is a desire to finalise the case as quickly as possible.

We will often feel that the other party to the marriage is not acting fairly or being truthful and in those cases we will act firmly and decisively to represent our client’s interests.

This area of work may also involve preparing complex business agreements and dealing with property transfers.

Helen Coughlan and Niall Farrell are the partners who deal with family law at Patrick J Farrell and Company. Niall and Helen have dealt with family law cases for many years and both have significant business law expertise. Niall is the managing partner of the firm and looks after business disputes and commercial property. He can look at a family law case from a business perspective and deal with complex business arrangements and commercial property transfers. Helen formerly worked at one of the top Irish commercial law firms, Matheson Ormsby Prentice, where she gained significant business and commercial expertise which she now applies to her complex family law cases.

“I have never interacted with a Solicitor who has demonstrated such dedication to duty above and beyond what could have been expected. Helen is an exceptional ambassador for your company, a real lady who dealt with my complicated legal issues in a manner that has forever enhanced my perception of the legal profession.”

Family Law Client

Helen Coughlan heads our Family Law Department and she is a qualified mediator, collaborative practitioner and family law solicitor. She has extensive experience in litigating family law matters through the courts.

What we provide is a superior specialised service which we make as cost-effective as possible. A Divorce or Judicial Separation may involve complex legal, pension, tax and financial issues and we call on a panel of experts (including barristers, accountants, tax advisors and pension consultants) to assist us where necessary to represent our client’s interests.

The main areas of our family law practice include:

  • Separation Agreements
  • Judicial Separation
  • Divorce law
  • Family Mediation
  • Collaborative law
  • Co-habitation and non-marital relationships
  • Maintenance for children
  • Children – guardianship custody, access
  • Recognition of Foreign Marriages

We recognise that being involved in family law can be very stressful and we do our best to minimise that by making sure that:

  • Your case is moved as quickly as possible;
  • You are kept informed;
  • You can contact us easily;
  • You pay what is fair and you know in advance, at each stage, exactly what you will be charged.

“The service was extremely professional. I found it at all times to be very comprehensive and carried out in a courteous and diligent manner. I would have no hesitation in recommending your services.”

C.S., Dublin

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At Patrick J Farrell & Company Solicitors, we understand the difficult and often personal nature of family law. With a legacy founded by Patrick J. Farrell and carried forward by a dedicated team, we have been advocates for justice for over four decades. Our commitment to putting our clients’ interests first, combined with our extensive legal expertise, makes us the ideal partners in your pursuit of justice.

From the moment you walk through our doors to the resolution of your case, you’ll be treated with the utmost courtesy, respect, and understanding. Choose us – where your well-being is our top priority. Reach out to us today and let our experienced solicitors guide you every step of the way.

Talk to a Family Law Expert

More Family Law Resources

Major Changes to Divorce Law

 Changing Financial Circumstances and Complex Family Law

 Separation in Ireland

 Divorce Solicitors

 Family Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution


 Complex Family Law


 Facebook and Family Law

 Surrogacy and Irish Law

 Pre-nuptial Agreements

 The Gender Recognition Act 2015

 Rights for unmarried fathers, step-parents and grandparents