The Divorce Process in Northern Ireland

Our Guide To The Divorce Process in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, once you have been married for two years, you can begin the Divorce Process. Every Divorce is different, but broadly speaking there are seven steps which you must work through, as follows:-

  1. Decide on the Reason for your Divorce

To be granted a Divorce, you must prove to the courts that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You can do this by showing that one of the following has taken place –

  • Your spouse committed adultery
  • Your spouse deserted you
  • Your spouse’s behaviour is unreasonable
  • You have been separated for two years and both agree to the divorce
  • You have been separated for five years

As expert Divorce Solicitors we will discuss these issues with you in a sensitive and confidential manner and ensure we approach the Divorce Proceedings in the best way possible.

  1. Lodge the Divorce Petition

Once we have decided on the reason for your divorce, you can begin divorce proceedings. The person who starts the divorce is known as the ‘Petitioner’. As the Petitioner, we will complete a form called a Divorce Petition on your behalf and send it to the Matrimonial Office. You will also need to provide a number of other documents, such as the marriage certificate, birth certificates for any children you have under the age of 18, an acknowledgement of service form, and court order requests.

We are experienced Divorce Solicitors and we can take care of the entire Divorce Process for you so that you do not have to worry about it.

  1. Serve the Divorce Petition

The Matrimonial Office will process these documents and send us a copy of the Divorce Petition. We will then send a copy to your ex-spouse, who  is known as the ‘Respondent’ for the purposes of the Divorce Process.

  1. Wait for the Response

The Respondent must then decide whether to consent to the Divorce, or whether to defend the divorce. He/she must inform the court of their decision by returning the acknowledgement of service form.

  1. Attend the Court Hearing

Next you will both be told a date to attend court. If your ex-spouse has consented to the divorce, it will be the court at which you first lodged the divorce petition. At the hearing, you will need to swear or affirm that the information you have provided is correct. However, if your ex wishes to defend the divorce, you will need to attend the High Court instead. At this point things get a little more complicated, as you may need to provide evidence in court and be cross-examined.

  1. Obtain the Decree Nisi

If a judge is satisfied that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, you will be granted a Decree Nisi.

  1. Apply for a Decree Absolute

You must then wait six weeks and one day before applying to the same court for a Decree Absolute. The Respondent can also apply for this, although he/she will have to wait a further three months. Either way, you will need to fill in another form and pay another court fee. It is then a matter of waiting for the Decree Absolute to be granted by the court. As soon as it is issued, you are no longer married.

Divorce Solicitors Northern Ireland

This is merely an overview of the Divorce Process and we hope it is helpful. It seems relatively straightforward, but in reality, there is a lot of paperwork and technical jargon to get your head around. Furthermore, most divorces are complicated by the division of assets, childcare arrangements and relating disputes.

That is why it is best to speak to an experienced and specialist Divorce Solicitor as soon as possible. That way you can hand all the work over to an expert, giving you more time and energy to focus on rebuilding your life.

How Can We Help?

We understand that discussing issues regarding a relationship break-up can often be very difficult and we therefore provide a sensitive & professional service with an experienced Divorce Solicitor.

If you are going through a Marriage or Relationship break-up and think you need Divorce or Separation Advice just call us today free of charge and without obligation. Call us now on 028 71 229 343 or use our Free Enquiry Form.

Free Consultation – Expert Divorce Solicitors

We provide a Free Consultation with at no cost to you and without obligation. This means you can speak to us without having to worry about Legal Fees. We can also assess whether you are eligible for Free Legal Aid.

If you would like help from a Divorce Solicitor in Northern Ireland, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Make A Free Enquiry

To make a free no obligation enquiry, please call us now on 028 71 229 343, email us on or Make An Online Enquiry.


Why Choose Us?

  • Friendly & Trusted Solicitors
  • FREE Initial Consultation
  • Legal Aid Available

Client Reviews:-

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"Couldn’t recommend McGee O’Kane Solicitors enough, they are very friendly & informative. You’ll get 100% honesty and your case will be dealt with efficiently no matter day or night they are easily contacted and couldn’t do enough to help. Excellent service wouldn’t go anywhere else." Friendly Solicitors Derry

August 17, 2018

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