belfast solicitors
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 team 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.

solicitors

Colin McMenamin LL.B

Litigation Solicitor

banking legal services

Robert Sinclair LL.B

Solicitor

Robert Sinclair was educated at Queen’s University Belfast and after graduating, he completed his apprenticeship at L’Estrange and Brett.

Robert took the decision to set up his own practice and founded Robert G Sinclair & Co in 1983. Robert has acted for leading corporate and commercial clients and is well known in this field of work. He has acted in many high profile cases in these areas including tax cases, VAT cases, fraud cases and restructuring of major companies. Robert has acted for many major banks who have set up in Northern Ireland. He has drafted much of the security documentation used by major lenders and continues to review these. At present Robert is involved in re-drafting security documentation for major lender clients to comply with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requirements specifically related to Northern Ireland.

Robert has been involved in advising companies and lenders involved in administrations, receiverships and liquidations and schemes of arrangement. Robert holds practising certificates in Northern Ireland, England & Wales and the Republic of Ireland and carries out transactions in all jurisdictions. Day to day, Robert’s primary role is in relation to the strategy of the firm and cementing relationships with key existing clients and developing relationships with new clients. Further, Robert’s role involves cultivating and maintaining relationships with English and Irish solicitors and accountants who lead their fields within areas in which our firm operates.

In the office, Robert runs a specialist caseload involving banking, insurance and property related matters at all levels.

Robert has been appointed to the advisory board of several leading companies by the government. He has also been appointed by the Northern Ireland Department of Education as a governor of Our Lady of St Patrick’s Grammar School, Knock. He is a trustee of several leading Northern Ireland Companies as well as a non-executive Director.

Robert is well known in national hunt horse racing circles. He has owned a number of Cheltenham festival winners and winners of national hunt races in Ireland. He is a keen runner having completed events such as the New York Marathon and is a member of several golf clubs including the K-Club, Helen’s Bay where he has been Captain, Clandeboye, Aloha (Marbella) and Dunham Forest (Cheshire). As Managing Partner in the firm for over 20 years he oversees each specialist department.

With his vast commercial and legal experience and as a Queen’s Law Graduate, Robert was delighted to be appointed to the Queen’s University Foundation Board where he helps advance the strategic goals and objectives of the University. He was actively involved in the second fund raising campaign for the University and has been appointed to the committee of Health Sciences as led by Professor Paddy Johnston (Professor Johnston is now vice-chancellor of Queens University). Professor Johnston spearheaded the centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology which was supported by the Queen’s Foundation Board.
Robert is also a member of the Marie Curie Development Board for Northern Ireland which, among other duties works to promote the development of the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast. Robert has run charity events for cancer research and raised substantial sums for charity.

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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
E: info@rgsinclair.co.uk

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