Court Orders and Divorce
Sometimes following divorce or separation, it is necessary to get a Court Order. This is when a judge makes a decision legally binding. There are many different types of Court Order that relate to divorce, civil partnership dissolution and separation.
At McGee O’Kane Solicitors, our family law solicitors can advise whether a Court Order would be suitable in your case. If so, we can make the application on your behalf.
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Types of Court Orders
We can help with all Court Orders relating to divorce, civil partnership dissolution, financial settlements and child care arrangements.
Divorce/civil partnership dissolution
Two Court Orders are issued during the divorce/civil partnership dissolution process. These are –
- Decree nisi/conditional order
- Decree absolute /conditional order final
Decree nisi or conditional order
When you submit a divorce petition, a hearing will be held in front of a judge. If the judge is satisfied that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, a decree nisi will be granted. In a civil partnership dissolution, this is known as a conditional order instead. This is a significant step, because it means you have met the grounds for divorce or dissolution.
Decree absolute or conditional order final
Six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is granted, the Petitioner can apply for a decree absolute. This is the final step in the divorce process. Once it is issued by the court, your marriage is formally over and you can marry other people. In a civil partnership dissolution, this is known as a conditional order final.
Finances and divorce
A divorce does not deal with ancillary matters such as your finances. You must deal with this separately. When it comes to the division of your assets and debts, there are many different types of Court Order you can get. The right one for you depends on the circumstances. Financial orders relating to divorce include –
- Periodical Payment Orders
- Lump Sum Payment Orders
- Property Adjustment Orders
- Pension Sharing Orders
- Mesher Orders
- Mareva Injunctions
Periodical Payment Order
Also known as spousal maintenance, a Periodical Payments Order demands that one person provides ongoing financial support to the other. The Order can stipulate how much should be paid and for how long. The money is intended to cover the living expenses of the financially weaker person.
Lump Sum Payment Order
A Lump Sum Payment Order demands that one person gives the other a lump sum of money. Often this happens when one person gets to keep a significant asset, such as the family home. In return, the person moving out gets a lump sum of money to reflect their share of the property.
Property Adjustment Order
A Property Adjustment Order demands that one person transfers their interest in a property (or part of it) to the other.
Pension Sharing Order
A Pension Sharing Order details how your pensions should be shared. You may both be entitled to a share of each other’s pensions.
A Mesher Order stipulates that the sale of the family home must be deferred until a certain point. This might be until the youngest child has left full-time education.
A Mareva Injunction freezes someone’s assets. This ensures he/she cannot hide or dispose of assets while the divorce settlement is being negotiated.
Children and divorce
Divorce also does not deal with your child care arrangements. If you cannot agree on any aspect of your child’s upbringing, or you want to make the arrangements legally binding, you need a Court Order. Different Court Orders suit different scenarios. These include –
- Parental Responsibility Orders
- Residence Orders
- Contact Orders
- Specific Issue Orders
- Prohibited Steps Orders
Parental Responsibility Order
A Parental Responsibility Order is when someone is granted parental responsibility for a child by the court. All mothers in Northern Ireland automatically have parental responsibility for their children. Fathers and other interested parties (such as a step-parents) can obtain parental responsibility in various ways, including via a Court Order.
A Residence Order sets out where a child should live and with whom.
A Contact Order sets out when and where a child spends time with the non-resident parent.
Specific Issue Order
A Specific Issue Order is used to resolve specific disputes about a child’s upbringing. For example, parents might disagree on what medical treatment their child should receive. A judge will make a decision. A Specific Issue Order makes this decision legally binding.
Prohibited Steps Order
A Prohibited Steps Order prevents someone – usually a parent – from taking a particular course of action. For instance, the Order could prevent a parent from taking their child abroad or changing their surname.
Free initial enquiry
Our experienced family law solicitors can advise whether a Court Order would be beneficial following your divorce or separation. If so, we can handle everything for you, making an application and presenting your case in court.
To find out more, contact us for a free initial enquiry.
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