Get legal advice from one of the leading divorce & civil partnership teams in Northern Ireland. From divorce & civil partnerships proceedings to financial and child contact arrangements We provide direct expert guidance and advice to our clients on these personal and delicate matters.
Wilson Nesbitt Partner, Lenore Rice is a member of the Law Society Association of Northern Ireland Collaborative Family Lawyers. This means that where possible we will try and prevent things from going to court, saving all parties a great deal of emotional stress.
Our family law solicitors and specialists are highly regarded for their experience and achievements. We advise clients of the chances of success, the risks involved and on negotiating compromise settlements on relationship breakdown, financial settlements, child contact & children’s arrangements and international family matters. We can also provide discreet advice if you are looking for a domestic violence solicitor.
Our divorce solicitors adapt their service delivery to what suits you, allowing us to act for clients all across Northern Ireland expertly and efficiently, offering; Perspex screen protected face to face meetings | Belfast or Bangor office meetings | Home garden masked visits | Phone or Zoom meetings.
We have gathered some frequently asked questions for your information:
How does the divorce process start, and how does it work in Northern Ireland?
Divorce in NI begins with lodging a Petition to the relevant Court citing the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down and the reasons for that breakdown. If you lodge the Petition you are known as the Petitioner with the Petition served on your spouse or civil partner, known as the Respondent and they are required to respond to your Petition. There are two stages to the Divorce, the decree nisi hearing and the application for the decree absolute. Northern Ireland still has a solemn process in that the Petitioner will attend court to adopt their evidence for the nisi hearing.
Do we have to agree what will be happening to our children before the divorce?
If you have minor children together you will be required to complete and lodge a form confirming the arrangements for the children with your Divorce Petition, it is better to have an agreed position otherwise the court may not grant the divorce.
What do I need to prove to get a divorce?
You need to prove that your marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down and this is proved by declaring one/or more of five facts. There are three fault based facts; Desertion | Adultery | Unreasonable behaviour (this could be alcohol, drug abuse, financial or physical abuse, inappropriate relations with another, etc.)
There are two non-fault based facts; A ‘2 year ground’; a period of separation for 2 years or more and the other party consents to the divorce on that ground | A ‘5 year ground’; a period of separation for five years or more and consent of the other party is not required.
Do we have to try mediation or counselling before applying for a divorce?
Attending mediation or counselling is a personal choice. Mediation can be an effective way of addressing ongoing issues that result from your separation such as contact arrangements with children and/or matrimonial agreements for finances both in the short and longer terms. It is important for you to seek advice should you wish to negotiate matrimonial finances or contact with your children.
What information will my solicitor need to help me get divorced?
Your solicitor will require you to be forthcoming in respect of the reasons as to why your marriage/civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. Divorce often attributes blame and proofs will be required for any fault based grounds cited as the reason for the breakdown. Fault based grounds are Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour and Desertion. Basic information will also be required including current addresses for all parties, marriage/civil partnership certificate, Birth certificates for children of the marriage/civil partnership, employment details and more.
Do we have to go to court in person to get divorced?
This depends on the circumstances of your case. If you are the Petitioner you will be required to attend Court in order to have your Decree Nisi issued. The Respondent may or may not have to attend depending on whether they have consented to the Divorce, or if they are contesting it.
How long does it take to get divorced?
This depends on the particulars of your case and also the timetable of the Court. Your solicitor will guide you through the process, step by step, once the circumstances are known and keep you up to date on its progress.
How much is getting divorced likely to cost?
Again, estimates depend on the particulars of your case. Once these are known, your solicitor will provide a costs estimate if your case is straightforward, or if not, provide a guide as to the costing. There are three court fees for a standard divorce and you should budget £800 to cover the court fees alone. If the divorce is contested or becomes protracted, your solicitor may have to make additional applications to the court, for instance to prove service of your divorce papers on the other party, this adds to your costs.
Wilson Nesbitt offer monthly billing for our clients. We can secure Legal Aid if applicable.
For a fault based divorce you may seek to have the party at fault pay for the divorce and if so awarded by the court so you may recoup this from the other party.
What We Do
- Separation agreements by negotiation including Collaborative Law
- Mareva or freezing injunctions to prevent the dissipation of assets
- Domestic violence, arrange emergence and subsequent Non-Molestation Orders, secure an Occupation Orders for you & the children & Matrimonial Home Rights Orders
- Divorce, the dissolution of Civil Partnerships on adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, living apart for two years with consent, living apart for five years without consent & annulment
- Child, spousal and partner maintenance and deed poll name change
- Court ancillary relief proceedings, variation of existing orders and pensions on divorce
- Legal Aid assessments
- Expert support if required - forensic & business accountants, tax & trust professionals, stockbrokers, commercial & residential property valuers & pension actuaries
Get in touch
To find out more about how we can help you with your Divorce & Civil Partnerships query, please contact us.