Divorce Proceedings

Divorce Proceedings can be daunting for most so we have broken the process into steps so you can understand what to expect.

Legal Aid 

Legal aid may be available depending on your financial circumstances however it should be remember that it can take approximately 6 months to obtain this support for your legal costs and if you recover property or other assets then the statutory charge may apply in order to repay those costs.

Established Grounds For Divorce 

In order to obtain a divorce in Northern Ireland you must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. A petitioner must prove in evidence that there is no prospect of a reconciliation between the parties and this must be established by proving at least one of the following facts:

1) Adultery

2) Unreasonable Behaviour

3) Desertion

4) Living Apart for Two Years (and the Respondent consents to the divorce)

5) Living Apart for Five Years

Divorce Petition and supporting documents 

We will draft all the documents needed to issue proceedings. We ask that you provide us with the following documents: original marriage certificate, any children’s long form birth certificates and copies of any previous Court orders granted so that they can be lodged in the Matrimonial Office. It will be necessary to complete specific details as to the arrangements for the welfare of the children and we will consult with you to assist in this process.

The petition must be also be accompanied by the appropriate fee. The fee is currently £237 for both County Court proceedings and the High Court. The Matrimonial Office will stamp and return the papers for service upon the Respondent.


Service on the Respondent 

The Respondent will then be served with all papers by recorded delivery. They will then have 14 days to return form M6 Acknowledge of Service to the Matrimonial Office. If they want to contest the petition this must be indicated on the returned Form M6 and supported by a cross-petition. If the Acknowledgement of Service is not returned by the Respondent we may apply for leave to have served deemed good when the Respondent’s consent is not essential.


Once ready a certificate of readiness is filed with the Court fee of  £296 or £355 to secure a court date. If it is a contested divorce, a full hearing will take place however if it is an uncontested divorce only the petitioner will attend and the hearing will be dealt with quickly.

Once the judge is satisfied that the marriage is irretrievably broken down a decree nisi will issue.

The decree absolute is granted with the Court fee of £89 after an application from the petitioner six weeks after the issue of the decree nisi, or an application by the respondent at least three months after the event.

The implications of Divorce

You are free to re-marry once a Decree Absolute is granted. Furthermore your Divorce will prohibit your ability to inherit from your former spouse on death.