How to get a divorce in Northern Ireland

It's the nightmarish scenario that all married couples worry about at one point or another. And, sadly, it's all too common. It's divorce. Depending on where you live, the laws pertaining to divorce vary widely. In Northern Ireland, however, while the pain of divorce is as bad as anywhere, the means by which you can secure a divorce is relatively straightforward. Providing, that is, you pay careful attention to the rules.

Requirements for divorce

In Northern Ireland, when you file for divorce you become known as the Petitioner, while your spouse becomes the Respondent. Divorce can only proceed if you can provide the following: a certificate of marriage (showing you have been married for at least two years), all birth-certificates for children in the family aged 18 or younger, and any previous orders of the court that may have been issued concerning your relationship. When you have met those demands, you will be sent a copy of the petition.

If your husband or wife does not contest the petition to take the divorce procedure to its next level, you will soon thereafter be required to appear at the court handling your case. You will be specifically told to confirm as genuine the data contained within the petition, and which you will do under oath and under penalty of potential punishment. If the court is happy with the petition and your response to the court, and your other half has not contested the divorce, the judge may issue a Decree Nisi.

With the issuing of the Decree Nisi, the process of divorce in Northern Ireland is nearly at its end. Indeed, only a short six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi has been granted by the court, the Petitioner may then apply for what is termed the Decree Absolute. And when that particular piece of documentation is received by the Petitioner, the marriage is officially over.


Ensure from the outset you have all the required paperwork needed to file for divorce. For questions and advice contact the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals, as well as Northern Ireland's Matrimonial Office. Determine if it's worth your time and money to hire a solicitor.


Make sure all the paperwork required by the court is correctly filed. Do not attempt to deceive the court. Make sure all your documentation is submitted in a timely manner, as delays in doing so may result in delays in the divorce procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • If you and your partner do decide that the marriage is over, and divorce is the only option left to you both, then there are certain issues you'll need to take careful note of. You'll need evidence of one of the following: (a) adultery, (b) having lived apart from your wife or husband for two years, but with a view to ultimately getting divorced (or, for five years if one party does not want divorce proceedings to go ahead), (c) desertion, or (d) violent or emotionally abusive behaviour.
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About the Author

Nick Redfern is the author of many books on UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Hollywood scandal and much more. He has worked as a writer for more than two decades and has written for the Daily Express, Military Illustrated and Penthouse.