Starting a Divorce Process

When to Contact a Solicitor

While you can initiate a divorce without the aid of a solicitor, they can provide invaluable assistance in making the proceedings run as smoothly as possible. They have the experience and knowledge of working through hundreds of divorces.

Divorce solicitors are experts in their field, well versed in the nuances of the divorce process, and incredibly willing to work with you to ensure that you reach an outcome which is suitable for all parties involved.

While you can complete a certain degree of the initial work involved in initiating divorce proceedings without the aid of a solicitor, having an expert hand to guide you through the process can help shoulder the burden at such a difficult time.

It is also to important to remember that choosing to enlist the services of a solicitor is not an accusation of blame or an acceptance of fault on the part of you or your partner. If for whatever reason you do decide not to use a solicitor, and provided there is mutual consent to divorce, you can get information from the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.

You can also ask the Matrimonial Office for guidance on bringing a Petition for Divorce as a personal petitioner.

You will always need to contact a solicitor in the following circumstances:

  • The other spouse doesn’t consent to divorce
  • The other spouse defends the case after the petition was issued
  • You and your spouse wish to avail of the collaborative law divorce process

Lodging a Petition in the Matrimonial Office

The divorce process begins when you lodge the petition and pay the relevant fee. 

Please consult the Department of Justice website for details on when and how to pay court fees, as well as information on help with fees.

Under the petition, you are the petitioner and the other spouse is the respondent.

You or your solicitor will need to lodge the following documents with the Matrimonial Office:

  • Marriage certificate
  • An acknowledgement of service form completed by the respondent
  • Birth certificates for any children under the age of 18
  • Agreements you wish to be made a rule of court
  • Any previous court orders about your marriage

Next Steps

Take the next step and call us on free phone number 0800 840 9291.
Alternatively you can contact us or request a callback.

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