Divorce and Separation
Divorce is the legal process by which a married couple formally ends their marriage, and their legal marital relationship is terminated. Divorce can be one of the most distressing experiences of someone’s life and here at P. A Duffy & Co. our divorce and separation solicitors‘ main aim is to make the process run as smoothly as possible in order to protect your financial and personal interests and well-being.
Divorce and separation can often be misinterpreted as meaning the same thing; however, they do differ.
So, the difference is that divorce ends a marriage however a separation does not. There are certain requirements that a person must meet to get a divorce whereas separation does not hold these precise requirements.
What to expect during the Divorce and Separation Process in Northern Ireland.
During the initial consultation with one of our Specialist Divorce solicitors, we would encourage our clients to be open and honest with us from the outset. With your cooperation, we will always be honest with you and guarantee to keep you in the know at all times.
Then we will gather as much information from you on our initial consultation. We will also:
Explain the divorce process and help you understand what you need to do at each stage
Start the divorce action for you by filing the necessary forms
Keep you updated and represent your best interests
Help you reach an agreement with your ex-partner wherever practical, without having to go to court
If you do go to court, we will present your case
Help you to understand what the judge can and cannot do, and explain what the judge’s decision means for you
The parties will need to discuss and determine who will have residence of any children of the marriage. Contact arrangements will need to be established for the non-resident parent so that the separation can have the well-being of the children at the heart of this process.
How long will my divorce take?
Under Northern Ireland family law, divorce can proceed through four evidential proofs: 2 years separation with consent, 5 years separation, unreasonable behaviour, or adultery. The first two are considered 'no-fault' grounds, usually taking around 9 months to conclude if all goes smoothly, contingent on court processing times. 'Fault' options, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery, generally take a bit longer, and clients should anticipate around 9 months to 1 year for such divorces to be finalized.
Will I have to go to court?
In a divorce case, if you initiate the process by being the party who files for divorce based on one of the four evidential proofs, you may need to appear in court. However, in divorces based on 'no-fault' grounds like 2 years of separation with consent or 5 years of separation, only the petitioner is typically required to attend court.
If a divorce petition is issued on a ‘fault’ basis, unreasonable behaviour, or adultery, the non – non-petitioning party (respondent) has an opportunity to defend the divorce. If this happens then both parties will be required to attend court. ‘Fault-based divorces usually proceed by way of cross decrees whereby both the petitioning party and respondent obtain a decree on the basis of the other party's unreasonable behaviour.
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