/ Divorce / Do I have to attend court?

Do I have to attend court for my divorce?

In Northern Ireland, the person who is making the divorce application must attend court for what is known as a “Decree Nisi” hearing.


This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to get a divorce in Northern Ireland. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist divorce solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances.

Do I have to attend court for my divorce?

The person who is applying for the divorce normally has to attend court for the Decree Nisi hearing.

If your partner consents to the divorce, and has raised no objections about the content of your petition, they don’t have to attend court.

(If, on the other hand, they contest the petition, they’ll have to attend too.)

If your divorce application is being heard in the High Court, the case will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast (you’ll find the entrance beside the Bar Library).

If your divorce is being heard in the County Court, your hearing will usually be in the same court as where you filed your divorce petition.

When you arrive, you can ask at Reception for directions to the individual court where the divorce hearings are being heard that day.

It’s absolutely normal to be nervous when you are attending court, especially if you are representing yourself.

Don’t add to the stress by arriving late, or “just in time”.

Give yourself plenty of time to find the right room, to make sure you have your papers in order, and just to settle your nerves and get your bearings.

Don’t be afraid to ask court staff (ushers, etc) questions if you have any.

If you are using a solicitor, make sure that you have a clear arrangements for where and when you are going to meet them.

Make sure you have their mobile number, just in case you run into any problems.

The above article is part of our guide on how to get a divorce in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland specialist divorce solicitor who will be able to provide advice tailored to your own personal circumstances.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland divorce solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.
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