Are you going through a break up of your marriage or civil partnership?
If a marriage or civil partnership breaks down it can be a stressful and traumatic time for everyone involved. Our solicitors are experienced in dealing with these matters sensitively and compassionately and in making everything clear in order to achieve the best solution for you. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation on 028 90231770.
Matrimonial / Family Law – We understand the main areas of concern when a couple are separating are their family and finances. The most common and difficult questions at a time like this are ‘what will happen to the children?’ and ‘how do you ensure both parties have the ability to start new lives?’. We can help to answer these questions with you. Whether you just want some advice to better understand your position or if you simply wish to know how to move forward, we will make everything clear.
Finding an amicable resolution
We can assist if you are planning an amicable divorce and financial agreement, or, if resolution cannot be reached easily with your former partner, we can help make everything clear in order to move things forward. We will help you agree what will happen to any children you both have, and where an agreement cannot be reached, we have the experience in applying for residence and contact orders.
We can handle all aspects of divorce and dissolution including complex pension positions, financial agreements or disputes and more practical issues, such as what happens to family businesses or multiple properties.
Malachy Hagan heads our Matrimonial Department and is trained in collaborative law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Family Mediation. This is a process in which a couple, both with a solicitor representing them, attempt a resolution with round table meetings in the hope that they reach the outcome, rather than a Court imposed resolution. It is an excellent forum for couples who wish to attempt to resolve their differences outside of a courtroom.
If resolution cannot be obtained, we will work with you to make the whole legal process clear. Our aim is to achieve the best outcome for you in the least stressful and most cost-effective way possible.
Obtaining a divorce
There is only one way to obtain a divorce or a dissolution in Northern Ireland. You must convince a court that your relationship has broken down ‘irretrievably’, i.e. that there is no prospect of you getting back together. This irretrievable breakdown can be evidenced in one of five ways:
- Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue to live with him or her (this is not applicable to civil partners);
- Your partner has deserted you (this can be a difficult ground to prove);
- Your partner has behaved in such a way that it is unreasonable to expect you to continue to live with them;
- You have been separated from your partner for two years and your partner agrees to the divorce/dissolution;
- You have been separated from your partner for five years (whether or not your partner agrees to the divorce/dissolution).
If you are able to satisfy one of the above grounds then you can lodge a Petition for Divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership, which begins the legal procedure.
Before the court will grant you a Decree Absolute, this is the document which legally grants you a divorce, the Court will want to see that the financial side of the case and any arrangements for children have been finalised.
Our Matrimonial Department can help with all aspects of the process. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with arrangements for children, financial arrangements, transferring the legal title to houses and other property and can help you through the legal side of the case in drafting and lodging all the relevant documents.