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Divorce Solicitors Belfast, Northern Ireland

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Family Law & Divorce Solicitors 

The ending of a marriage can be one of the most emotional and stressful experiences that a person can go through in life. This is especially the case when the breakup is not amicable. Our divorce solicitors offer expert support through this challenging period in your life, taking some of the weight off your shoulders and protecting your interests.

At SG Murphy Solicitors, we offer a combination of empathy, communication, support, experience, knowledge, determination and skills. Our team will ensure your rights are upheld and the process is as quick and stress free as possible. We can also support you with sorting out your finances so you can make a fresh start.

Call Expert Divorce Solicitors in Belfast on 028 90 36 5595

Have a question about divorce? Please read our guide to the steps in a divorce and our divorce FAQs or get in touch to speak to a member of our divorce solicitors team.

Northern Ireland Divorce Law Experts: Specialist Legal Advice On All Cases Related to Family Law & Divorce

Divorce and family issues encompass a broad spectrum of legal matters pertaining to the dissolution of marriages and the resolution of conflicts within families. Legal processes may include contested or uncontested proceedings, mediation, collaborative divorce, or litigation.

The multifaceted nature of divorce and family law necessitates legal expertise to navigate complexities and safeguard the rights and well-being of all parties involved.

Our family law solicitors can provide clear and accurate legal advice regarding divorce laws and procedures in Northern Ireland. We explain your rights, responsibilities, and the potential outcomes of different courses of action.

Our divorce lawyers in Belfast offer professional advice and full guidance in negotiating settlements and, when possible, participate in mediation to help couples reach agreements on issues such as property division, child custody, and support. 

Contact Our Divorce And Family Solicitors On 028 90 36 5595

Matrimonial & divorce

  • Matrimonial agreements
  • Divorce
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Defended divorce proceedings
Children Care Orders

Children & public law

  • Supervision orders
  • Care orders
  • Relocation proceedings

Why Choose SG Murphy As Your Experienced Expert Divorce Solicitors in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Read our Five Star reviews to see why hundreds of clients across Northern Ireland continually choose SG Murphy Solicitors to represent and advise them.

Our business grows by our customers recommending us. Our satisfied clients trust us to the extent they refer us to their friends and family, knowing we will do a similarly excellent job for them.

Our divorce lawyers in Belfast are specialised, experienced and focused on achieving results that meet our and our clients’ high expectations. Looking for more information on unreasonable behaviour divorce in Northern Ireland? Get in touch now!

Expert Legal Guidance From The Best Divorce Solicitors in Belfast

Our Belfast divorce lawyers can help you with:

– Document Preparation: Assistance with necessary legal paperwork.

– Representation in Court: Advocacy in court proceedings if required.

– Negotiation and Mediation: Facilitating agreements with the other party.

– Division of Assets and Debts: Ensuring fair distribution.

– Spousal Support (Alimony): Determining and negotiating financial support.

– Child Custody and Visitation: Establishing arrangements in the child’s best interest.

– Child Support: Calculating and negotiating financial support for children.

– Alternative Dispute Resolution: Exploring cooperative methods like mediation.

– Legal Research and Strategy: In-depth analysis for a solid case strategy.

– Emotional Support: Providing understanding during a challenging process.

– Adherence to Legal Procedures in Northern Ireland: Ensuring compliance with court requirements.

– Post-Divorce Matters: Handling modifications or adjustments as needed.


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You deserve to be represented by a Belfast divorce lawyers legal team that are determined to ensure you get the best possible resolution following the breakup of your marriage. We focus, therefore, on achieving results that we can be proud of and you can be satisfied with.

Experienced Divorce Solicitor

SG Murphy Solicitors is home to specialised and highly trained divorce and matrimonial lawyers, meaning you can be confident your case is in strong hands.

We Take Care

Divorce and ancillary relief proceedings can be one of the most distressing experiences in your life. At SG Murphy Solicitors, we bring a level of empathy, support and communication that will make the process as stress free as possible.

Divorce case studies

Funding your divorce

Any of our professional divorce solicitors offer flexible funding options to suit your circumstances, helping you to cover the legal cost of your divorce.

Can I get Legal Aid for a divorce in Northern Ireland?

Legal Aid may be available for your divorce process in Northern Ireland depending on your financial circumstances and the details of your case. During our free initial consultation, our divorce lawyers will advise you as to whether you may be eligible for legal aid.

Our Best Divorce Lawyers in Belfast, Northern Ireland are here to help.  Contact us now on 028 90 36 5595

Divorce Process in Northern Ireland

1. Initial free consultation

Speak to us, free of charge. One of our expert divorce lawyers will advise you of the steps needed to obtain a divorce. They will also advise you if Legal Aid may be available.

2. Drafting the divorce petition

We will take full details from you about the marriage and circumstances of the breakup to allow us to draft the divorce petition and then file it in court.

3. Serving the divorce petition

Once it is returned from the court, we will serve the divorce petition on your spouse.

Once served, they will have 14 days to lodge in court a form called the M6 Acknowledgement of Service. In the Acknowledgement of Service, your spouse will indicate whether they intend to contest the case or not and will confirm their position in respect of the costs of the divorce proceedings.

If your spouse refuses to return the Acknowledgement of Service, then an application needs to be made to the court to prove that the divorce petition was served properly on the spouse.

4. Hearing

When everything is ready, we will request a court date. This is done by filing a certificate of readiness along with a court fee. You will then be provided with a hearing date.

At court, evidence will be given regarding the breakdown of the marriage. What will happen at the hearing depends a lot on whether or not your spouse is contesting the divorce. If your spouse is not contesting the divorce, then you will be asked to first of all take a religious oath or make an affirmation. You will then be taken through the divorce petition by your solicitor and asked to verify the facts contained within it.

If your spouse contests the petition, then you may be asked to give evidence and be cross examined by your spouse’s legal representative.

5. Decree Nisi

If the court accepts there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the court will grant a Decree Nisi.

6. Decree Absolute

6 weeks and one day after the granting of the Decree Nisi, you can apply for the Decree Absolute, which is the official order that your marriage has ended. Your divorce is not finalised until the court grants the Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute is the legal end of the marriage.

Sometimes there can be a delay before applying for a Decree Absolute as there are outstanding financial matters related to the break-up of the marriage that have to be dealt with.

Financial and Ancillary relief in divorce

Divorce proceedings end the marriage, but they do not finalise the distribution of the matrimonial assets and the financial relationship between the parties.

In order to do that, a couple can settle their financial arrangements through a matrimonial agreement, which sets out how they have agreed to split the assets of their marriage.

If an agreement cannot be found, then court proceedings called Ancillary Relief proceedings need to be issued to allow the court to decide how the assets will be divided.

We, at SG Murphy Solicitors, can provide expert divorce legal advice for the division of finances, making sure you achieve a settlement that matches your needs and those of any dependants.

Divorce & Family Issues in Belfast, Northern Ireland: FAQs

What are the grounds for divorce in Northern Ireland?

To obtain a divorce, the court must be satisfied of the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”. To prove irretrievable breakdown, one of the following 5 grounds must be proven. These 5 facts include both fault-based facts and non-fault-based facts.

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. 2 years separation with the consent of the other spouse
  5. 5 years separation (consent not required)

It is recommended to get expert divorce advice before starting proceedings to make sure you pick the right fact to rely on.

What information and documentation are needed to start divorce proceedings?

At the start of the process, we will sit down with you to gather as much information as is needed to allow the divorce petition and ancillary forms to be drafted. This will include information such as when and where you were married, where you last lived together as a couple, when you separated, full details of the ground for your divorce, details of all children you have had together etc.

In addition, we need the following documentation to lodge with the court to start the divorce process:

  • Marriage/Civil Partnership certificate
  • Birth certificates for children under 18
  • Any matrimonial agreements that are to be made a rule of court
  • Any previous court orders about your marriage/civil partnership
  • Divorce petition and ancillary forms
  • Court fee

How long does a divorce take in Northern Ireland?

It is very difficult to provide a specific timeframe for how long the divorce process will take. It will depend on many factors, such as the co-operation or lack of support from your spouse, and whether your spouse is consenting to the divorce and the financial arrangements. The process can take from 9 months upwards to a number of years.

Our divorce law solicitors will keep you informed throughout the anticipated time frame in your particular case.

What if my spouse will not consent to the divorce?

If you are relying on the fact of 2 years separation with consent, you will need the consent of your spouse to proceed with the divorce. If you are relying on the fact of 5 years separation, then your spouse’s consent is not required and you can proceed to divorce them.

If you are relying on one of the remaining facts, then your case will be contested and at hearing, you will have to give evidence to prove the facts to allow the Judge to grant the decree of divorce.

Can I get divorced in Northern Ireland if I got married in another country?

Yes, where you got married does not affect whether you can get a divorce in Northern Ireland. What matters to the court is your nationality or where you and your partner usually live.

Is it possible to divorce my spouse if they live in another country?

The rules are complex but, yes, you can. However, you may find you are in the position where the divorce proceeds in the other country. It may be the case that you and your spouse have a choice of country, in which case who applies first to court for divorce may be crucial. It may be the case that where there are competing sets of proceedings, the one that takes precedence is the jurisdiction with the closest connection with the couple.

How do I protect myself from my spouse abusing me?

If you are the victim of physical, emotional or psychological abuse, SG Murphy Solicitors can apply to court to protect you from your abusive spouse. This can include applying for a non-molestation order, which prevents an abusive spouse from harassing or molesting you in any way and an occupation order which will remove your partner from your shared home.

What is a matrimonial agreement?

In simple terms, a matrimonial agreement is an out of court settlement agreement which sets out in detail the division of the assets of the marriage.

The aim of a matrimonial agreement is to sever all financial ties between the couple and prevent any future claim by either spouse.

If a Judge approves the matrimonial agreement in court, then it will become binding on both spouses.

What happens to the family home with a divorce?

In most divorces, the family home is the biggest asset to be divided. The starting point in any division of the family home is 50:50, but that may change depending on a number of factors, such as who has to take care of any children.

Sometimes, one spouse may agree to “buy out” the other spouse’s share of the house, or the house may need to be sold and any equity divided in their respective shares to the spouses. In certain circumstances, the court may make an order that the property is not sold until a certain point of time in the future, such as the youngest child finishing education. The primary carer would then be allowed to remain living in the home until that date.

What can I do if my spouse is disposing of assets because of the divorce?

If your spouse is deliberately disposing of assets to avoid your entitlement to a share of those assets in the divorce, then you can apply to the court for a Mareva Injunction. A Mareva Injunction, if granted, has the effect of freezing the assets of your spouse, therefore preventing your spouse from deliberately disposing of them.

How are pensions treated in a divorce?

Both spouses’ pensions are treated as part of the matrimonial assets to be considered. Where one spouse is entitled to a share of the other spouse’s pension, this can be done through a Pension Sharing Order or through off-setting.

In a Pension Sharing Order, a percentage of the pension fund is separated for the receiving spouse to benefit from on retirement.

With off-setting, the spouse can off-set the other spouse’s interest in their pension by allocating other assets of the same or similar value, such as the family home.

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement between a couple before they marry or enter into a civil partnership. It sets out who owns what in respect of the couple’s assets, money and property and how these will be divided if the relationship should break down.

Pre-nuptial agreements are currently not legally enforceable in Northern Ireland, but they can be taken into consideration as long as they were prepared and signed in the right way.

What happens with a family business in divorce?

A family business, like any other asset, is taken into consideration in the division of the assets during divorce. The business will have to be valued, normally by an independent forensic accountant.

Is it best to get a solicitor for divorce in Northern Ireland?

While you can handle your divorce yourself, it is a big risk to do so. The process can be complicated and stressful, so it is easy to make mistakes resulting in delays and causing yourself unnecessary anxiety. It is also vitally important to have a clear picture of all the ways in which divorce will impact you, especially financially.

A divorce lawyer can guide you through the entire divorce process, doing the hard work for you. They can also provide a clear explanation of all the issues you need to consider and support you with resolving matters such as the division of assets. This can make your divorce much easier on you, as well as give you the best chance of getting an outcome that matches your current and future needs.

Speak to SG Murphy Solicitors about your divorce

To book your free initial consultation with one of our divorce Northern Ireland solicitors, contact us now on 02 890 36 5595 or by email at law@sgmurphysolicitors.com.

We are here to help.  Contact us now on 028 90 36 5595

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If you need help with any legal matter, please contact us now to speak to an expert solicitor.

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SG Murphy Solicitors

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