If your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you have been married in excess of two years then you can institute divorce proceedings by way of presenting a divorce petition. There are five potential grounds for divorce. They are unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, two years separation with consent to divorce from the other spouse and five years separation without consent. If a court is satisfied that any one of these grounds has been made out it will issue a decree nisi and usually, six weeks from that date you can apply for a decree absolute which has the legal effect of dissolving the marriage. If you are in this position and believe one of these five grounds apply please speak to one of our solicitors.

The division of family assets, built up over many years, can be a difficult and time consuming exercise. Each party to a marriage can come to the table with very different ideas as to how assets should be divided and sometimes the gap between their respective positions cannot be bridged. It is a pre requisite, therefore, that professional advice is obtained for the insight, experience and guidance that can be offered to you as to what view the court is likely to take of each spouse’s claim. Mc Atamney Solicitors can draw on their long history of involvement in these matters to help you navigate this complex process.

The law in this field is governed by the Matrimonial Causes (Northern Ireland) Order 1978. The Court, when determining how family assets are divided will look at:

-          The income , earning capacity , property and other financial resources which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future

-          The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each party to the marriage

-          The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown

-          The age of each party and the duration of the marriage

-          Any physical or mental disability of either party to the marriage

-          The contributions which each party has made or is likely to in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family

-          The conduct of each party , if that conduct is such it would be inequitable of the court to disregard it

-          The value to each party of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution of the marriage , that party will lose the chance of acquiring

These are the general broad brush principles that courts apply when assessing the division of property between the parties upon divorce but what that means in the specific facts of your marriage, in terms of maintenance pending suit, ownership of the matrimonial home, division of income,  capital and pension sharing orders,  is something upon which legal advice should be taken.  Mc Atamney Solicitors can bring to bear their combined experience of over thirty years in this area of law to advise and assist you to achieve the best possible outcome.


Please speak to one of our solicitors for detailed advice and assistance on these matters.