The breakdown of a marriage is never easy. At times, it can feel overwhelming. But we have some of the most experienced divorce solicitors in Northern Ireland ready to support you through this challenging time and put your interests first every step of the way.
Whether you’re starting divorce proceedings or responding to divorce proceedings started by your spouse, we will help you to understand the process and share clear, honest explanations of what to expect, as well as the costs and implications of any decisions.
Any divorce is tricky. If your circumstances are even more complex than most people’s, you can call upon our legal know-how to help you through a complicated divorce. This could be an international divorce, a military divorce, a high net-worth divorce or a divorce with other complicating factors.
We will also guide you if you’re considering one of the alternatives to divorce. We can provide legal advice on legal separation, dissolving a civil partnership or annulment.
Whatever your circumstances, we’ll help you to navigate this confusing and stressful time to find practical, legal outcomes.
Grounds for Divorce in Northern Ireland
To get divorced in Northern Ireland you — or your spouse if they are starting divorce proceedings — must give grounds for divorce in the petition. This is a reason that proves that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are five grounds for divorce in Northern Ireland:
Unreasonable Behaviour – You’ve endured physical, emotional or financial abuse, your spouse abuses alcohol or drugs, your spouse has had an inappropriate relationship with someone else or has engaged in other behaviour that makes it impossible to stay in the marriage.
Adultery – Your spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone else (the specific legal definition of adultery relates to sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex, so this can’t be used in the case of same-sex infidelity).
Desertion – Your spouse moved out of your shared home without your agreement, without a valid reason and with the intention of ending the relationship.
2 Year Separation with Consent – You’ve been separated for two years and both parties agree to a divorce.
5 Year Separation – You’ve been separated for five years (even if either you or your spouse don’t want to divorce).
How Our Divorce Solicitors Can Support You
There are several ways our divorce solicitors can give you the help and support you need when going through a divorce in Northern Ireland. This includes legal matters directly linked to the divorce as well as related issues. Our divorce solicitors can advise you on:
Divorce Proceedings – Supporting you through the divorce process and representing you at the divorce hearing.
Divorce Financial Settlements – Dealing with financial cases — including the division of property, pensions and other assets — in a practical, cost-effective way, and representing you at a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing if necessary.
Childcare Arrangements – Helping you to deal with custody issues in a practical and child-focused way and to assist when the other party to the separation is causing distress to the children or you
Alternatives to Divorce – Guiding you through dissolution of civil partnerships and other alternatives to divorce.
Divorce Proceedings Process
If you’re ready to start a divorce application, we can help you at every stage of the divorce proceedings process in Northern Ireland. Here’s how we help to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible.
Step 1: Contact Reid Black When you get in touch, one of our experienced divorce solicitors in Belfast, Ballyclare or Antrim will offer sensitive, professional legal advice on how to deal with your circumstances practically.
Step 2: Divorce Application We’ll advise you on petitioning for divorce and help you with the application process.
Step 3: Acknowledgment of Service Next, your spouse has to acknowledge the divorce application. If this doesn’t go smoothly, we will support you in finding other ways to progress the case.
Step 4: Court Hearing We will guide you through what to expect well in advance of a Divorce Hearing and can represent you in court.
Step 5: Decree Nisi We’ll receive a decree nisi — a provisional decree of divorce — to our office. These are documents saying the court does not see any reason why you can’t divorce.
Step 6: Decree Absolute or Final Order Six weeks after the decree nisi, we will apply to finalise your divorce and complete the divorce proceedings.
Our practical yet sensitive approach supports you through the emotional upheaval of divorce while staying focused on your interests. Crucially, you’ll have some of the most experienced divorce solicitors in Northern Ireland working towards securing the best outcomes for you. Combining this experience with our understanding that your circumstances are individual to you helps us to give you the help you need.
Our Specialist Divorce Solicitors
Our Specialist Divorce Solicitors
Karen Cox has extensive experience dealing with all aspects of Family Law within Northern Ireland.
She excels in helping clients navigate the challenges faced during divorce proceedings.
Karen is often commended for her ability to explain complex Family Law legal documents in easy-to-understand terms.
Contact Karen for a free initial consultation, to determine the best approach for your Family Law case.
Amy Carson is one of Reid Black’s latest solicitors working within the Matrimonial and Family Law department.
She specialises in Divorce, Child Law and Domestic Violence in Northern Ireland.
Amy has won multiple awards during her studies at Queen’s University and brings her attention to detail to each and every case at Reid Black.
Contact Amy today for a free initial consultation to discuss your Family Law or Child Law case.
Yes, there are two possible grounds for a no-fault divorce in Northern Ireland. To get a no-fault divorce you will need to have been separated from your spouse for two years if you both consent to a divorce or have been separated for five years if one party doesn’t consent.
This depends on the type of divorce and the circumstances. A no-fault divorce in Northern Ireland will typically take around nine months to finalise. This can vary depending on the speed with which the court is able to process the various parts of paperwork needed for the divorce. Keep in mind that a no-fault divorce will need a separation period of two years (if you and your spouse consent) or five years (if one party doesn’t consent) before the divorce process can start.
Divorces on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion — ‘fault’ divorces — will usually take longer. We advise that a divorce can take up to a year to complete in these cases.
The petitioner — the spouse who is making the application to start the divorce process — pays the court fees for a divorce in Northern Ireland. All costs associated with divorce in Northern Ireland will be discussed during your initial consultation.
You don’t have to use a solicitor to get a divorce in Northern Ireland, but it’s definitely a good idea to do so. Having a legal professional looking after your best interests will help you to reach the outcomes that are best for your circumstances. It will also take away the burden of representing yourself, which can be daunting and stressful if you’re not familiar with the paperwork and processes.
The main alternatives to divorce are civil partnership dissolution and annulment. Dissolutions are only relevant to civil partnerships, while Annulments can only take place in the first year of marriage and in very specific circumstances.
Get the guidance you need from our divorce solicitors
If you would like legal advice and support about a divorce in Northern Ireland, we’re ready to help. We offer a free initial consultation and there is no obligation to proceed.
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I approached Reid Black Solicitors having known Hamill Clawson for many years as a good dependable lawyer and having been badly let down and grossly overcharged by another solicitor. He referred me to his colleague, David French who was very approachable and went out of his way to help resolve matters equitably in a timely and stress free manner.As a busy professional, this invaluable advice from Hamill and, especially his partner David was greatly appreciated. I am impressed by the high standard of service offered by this Firm and would recommended their services without caveat.read more
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