If you are going through a separation, divorce or civil partnership dissolution, it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible – what you say and do at the early stages may have an impact on the eventual outcome. When a relationship breaks down, it is often in circumstances where there is little time to prepare for all the decisions that need to be taken.
Divorces and dissolutions of civil partnerships are dealt with by the County Court and High Court in Northern Ireland, with the person making the application (the ‘petitioner’) able to do so themselves or through a solicitor. For a divorce to be granted, one of the following grounds must be met:
Five years’ separation (when the other spouse does not give their consent)
Two years’ separation (when the other spouse consents to the divorce)
For a civil partnership to be dissolved, one of the following grounds must be met:
Five years’ separation (when the other partner does not give their consent)
Two years’ separation (when the other partner consents to the divorce)
When all documents have been submitted, the case will be listed before the court. In cases where both parties consent to the divorce or dissolution, they will be asked to confirm that the information provided to the court is accurate. If one of the parties defends the petition, the spouse applying for divorce may have to give evidence in support of this. Once the judge has heard the case, they will grant a decree nisi ending the marriage. For civil partnerships, a conditional order will be granted.
Our Matrimonial team will ensure that you are informed on all decisions that must be taken, especially regarding children and finances. You can read more on our dedicated Divorce and Separation page.