We offer a free inital interview to people needing advise on your relationship
We can assist you in all areas of family law .
If you are planning to marry or enter into a civil partnership, you may want to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. Many more couples are now doing this. We can give you advice about its effect so that you can decide if it is right for you.
A pre-nuptial agreement sets out what you and your future spouse or civil partner agree should happen in relation to your finances if your relationship breaks down and you separate.
You should know at the outset that although they are now much more common, pre-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding. However, the courts do take them into consideration, providing that there have been no significant events such as the birth of children of the family or serious illness, and they meet the following criteria:
- Each of you has had independent legal advice.
- Both of you have made full and frank disclosure of your financial position to each other.
- There has been no pressure brought to bear on either of you to enter into the pre-nuptial agreement.
- Therefore generally you need to enter into the agreement at least three weeks before your marriage or civil partnership.
In the event of your separation, the court must consider all the circumstances of the case and decide what is a fair outcome. So although it is up to the court’s discretion to take the agreement into account, our experience shows that pre-nuptial agreements are becoming more relevant to the decisions made. At least a pre-nuptial agreement acts as a starting point, particularly if the circumstances haven’t changed dramatically, or if the marriage is short
Divorce/Separation & dissolution
In order to apply for a divorce in Northern Ireland you must satisfy one at least of the following five grounds: You must have been living separately for two years and your spouse must consent to the divorce. Five years separation without the consent of your spouse.
Unreasonable behaviour Adultery Desertion Divorce cases in Northern Ireland are dealt with before a County Court or the High Court. A divorce petition must be issued by the County Court or High Court Office, which is then served on the other spouse. We will draft and have served any of the above documents where you are applying for a divorce, or we can accept service of the same on your behalf if you are the respondent.
If the case proceeds on an undefended basis the petitioner must attend court. If the divorce is contested then we will prepare your case for hearing before the judge. Most divorce cases in Northern Ireland are uncontested. When the divorce petition is heard the Judge will usually grant a decree nisi, and six weeks later we will apply for a decree absolute, which finally dissolves the marriage. The courts have discretionary powers to make orders in respect of financial matters, maintenance and property transfers, and we will advise and assist you in relation to any of these matters which may be relevant to your case.
The breakdown of a relationship is an upsetting and emotional time. There are many practical and legal issues which we will be able to help you deal with. All clients have their own individual problems.
Our team of experienced divorce and separation solicitors offer extensive and expert advice is wholly focussed on helping you through these difficulties. You will find us sympathetic and sensitive to the issues you are facing. Most importantly, we support you with practical and clear advice to deal with these issues and the decisions you have to make throughout. You will find us robust in our dealings with other professionals on your behalf. Our absolute commitment is to keep in mind the best outcome for you, and your children.
If you believe your marriage has broken down, you may want to consider whether or not to start divorce proceedings, or for same sex couples you may want to dissolve your civil partnership. Come and talk to us. Often we help our clients make decisions about whether or when to separate or divorce.
We deal with many situations which are financially complex, whether the sums involved are substantial or not. One of our strengths is in dealing with difficult decisions concerning children, including cases with an international context. We can help if you need protection from violence or harassment.