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Family Solicitors, Divorce, Children's Orders, Domestic Violence.

When personal relationships break down you may need a strong solicitor to help guide you through.

Family Law Solicitors / Family Law

Robert G Sinclair Family Law Solicitors

We help people resolve issues around finances, children, property, business interests and other complications that come with divorce.

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Call us today on 028 9023 1770, or fill in the call back form below, to arrange your free initial consultation.

Issues around children, divorce and separation, domestic violence and harassment are sensitive and we recognise you will need a good solicitor to help you through.

Our specialist legal teams are on hand every step of the way to support and guide you through the family court process and have an excellent track record in fighting for the best outcome for you and your family.

We assist people in several areas of family law . These include:

1. Family Court & Children Order
2. Divorce & Financial Provisions
3. Domestic Violence - Occupation Orders & Protection from harassment injunctions.

Divorce And Family Law FAQ

How long Does It Take To Divorce In Northern Ireland?

How long it takes to process your divorce depends on a number of varied factors. If you are able to quickly come to terms with your partner without having to go to court, it is possible that the whole process could be completed inside 6 months or less. However, if you find it difficult to reach an agreement, have a lot of issues to resolve, or need to have things put before a court, it can take much longer – sometimes up to 2 years or more. The best advice is to talk to one of our solicitors today.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce?

  • There is only one ground for divorce: an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’. This is proved by any one of five facts:
    • Unreasonable behaviour – Conduct by you or your partner deemed sufficient to cause the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage
    • Adultery – Defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse
    • Living apart for two years (and both partners agree to the divorce)
    • Living apart for five years
    • Desertion for at least two years – Desertion takes place when one partner leaves the other without their knowledge or agreement.

    Usually, the grounds for divorce and the guilt of either party won’t have an impact on your financial settlement or the arrangements made for you children, but this is decided on a case-by-case basis. If you have queries you should consult one of our solicitors today.

What are the time limits for making Personal Injury Claims?

There are strict time limits associated with these kinds of cases.

Time limits differ depending on the type of  personal injury claim, therefore we would advise you to seek the advice of our expert solicitors as soon as possible.

What Is The Process For Divorce In Northern Ireland?

There are seven stages currently  to the divorce process in Northern Ireland:

  1. A divorce petition must be filed with a court by yourself or your partner. Whoever does this is known as the Petitioner, with the other party referred to as the Respondent
  2. The court sends the divorce documents to the Respondent
  3. The Respondent files an Acknowledgement of Service – this includes answering questions such as ‘do you intend to defend the case?’ and ‘do you agree with the ground for divorce?’
  4. The Petitioner applies for decree nisi – an order by a court stating the date on which a marriage can end, unless a good reason not to grant the divorce is produced
  5. The court  will then send you a Certificate of Entitlement confirming when decree nisi will be pronounced
  6. The court grants the decree nisi and sends a copy to both of your solicitors
  7. The Petitioner applies for a decree absolute after six weeks and one day has passed from decree nisi being granted. This decree is a final order from the court that officially ends the marriage, allowing each party to remarry. The Petitioner can delay in making the application for example if financial arrangements have not yet been finalised.

The divorce process differs depending on how you and your partner respond to each other’s demands, and particularly if the Respondent indicates they are going to defend the divorce. If steps are contested, the process can be slowed down.

You can agree your financial settlement with your partner at whenever you want, but getting it legally formalised with a Financial Consent Order cannot be done before the decree nisi is pronounced. It may then be decided that you should not apply for a decree absolute until you have reached a financial settlement with your partner, but that is not always the case.

Childcare arrangements are usually negotiated throughout the process. In all cases we advise talking to one of our solicitors first or to arrange a consultation.

Will I Have To Appear In Court?

You might have to go to court if you can’t come to an agreement with your partner, but you are both required to try and reach an agreement over the arrangements for your children’s care and financial arrangements before taking the case to court.

At Robert G Sinclair & Co Solicitors we can help you and your partner try to reach an agreement, if necessary with the use of our trained mediators, who can help you and your partner discuss your situation in a transparent and constructive way. We can also provide you with access to family therapists and counselling services for extra support.

Out-of-court agreements are typically cheaper and quicker than going to court, which can make them less stressful for all involved – an important consideration where children are concerned.

If none of the out-of-court processes work, we will ensure you have the best legal representation in court. Our  experienced solicitors will be open and honest about the likely outcome, and will fight to protect your best interests. We will ensure you are well prepared for any appearances, and will be at your side throughout. We will make everything clear from the outset.

Need a quick response?

Ask one of our solicitors today.

Meet Your Family Law Solicitors

Contact us for a quick, no obligation quote, on 028 90231770 or complete the enquiry form and we will call you back. At your free initial consultation our legal expert will make everything clear from the costs involved to what to expect along the way. We’ll work to get you the best possible result and promise to keep you up-to-date at every stage.


Colin McMenamin LL.B

Litigation Solicitor

patrick McNeill

Patrick McNeill LL.B


Patrick is a dynamic, modern and experienced solicitor recently returned to his native Belfast after gaining diverse litigation experience at various busy legal centres around the world.

Patrick has worked at a Mediation Firm on Broad Street, Philadelphia, followed up by years, both training and qualifying in private practice on Tyneside, prior to a year at Durham County Council upon qualification in March 2010. This was followed up by a return to private practice and consultancy Manchester, London and Ringsend, Dublin where Patrick spent 2018 prior to deciding upon a welcome Belfast return in 2019.

Patrick is an expert in litigation funding and providing the all-important, early strategic advice on any type of litigated or mediated action. Patrick especially enjoys incepting meritorious, complex claims and test cases.

Patrick is an approachable, plain and efficient solicitor currently licensed to practice in multiple jurisdictions and has taken in excess of ten thousand discrete legal instructions.
Patrick has also amassed ten thousand hours experience in the booming eDiscovery sector. The accent with this solicitor is on 360 degree client care – delivered each and every time.

It is Patrick’s starting point that within the banner of legal services - there is no such thing as “little things.”

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Call us today on 028 9023 1770, or fill in the call back form below, to arrange your free initial consultation.

RG Sinclair Solicitors & Co. Ltd

Sinclair House
23 Bedford Street
Belfast BT2 7EJ

T: 028 9023 1770

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