/ Divorce / DIY divorce in Northern Ireland

Can I get a "DIY" divorce in Northern Ireland?

You can do a “do it yourself” divorce in Northern Ireland. 

But the process for DIY divorces is the same as it is for “normal divorces”. 

If you are applying for a divorce yourself, you will still have to fill out the same forms and you will also have to attend a divorce court hearing.

Disclaimer

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.

Can I get a "DIY" divorce in Northern Ireland?

Going through the divorce process without the help of a specialist divorce solicitor is sometimes known as a “DIY divorce” (i.e. Do-It-Yourself).

The main advantage of DIY divorces is that they can be much cheaper than employing a divorce solicitor to look after everything for you.

A DIY Divorce may be a sensible option for you if:

  • you are on reasonably good terms with your ex-partner (i.e. you both agree to getting the divorce)
  • your combined finances are straightforward
  • you are in broad agreement about the arrangements for children (if you have any)
  • and you are in broad agreement about how the divorce should proceed

A disadvantage of DIY divorces is that it is easy to make mistakes during the divorce process, and often those mistakes can end up costing you a lot of money.

A DIY Divorce may not be a sensible option for you if:

  • you and your partner have significant shared assets (property, shares, pensions, etc.)
  • you disagree with your partner about children (custody, child maintenance payments, etc.)
  • if you disagree with how the divorce should proceed in general (your partner objects to getting divorced at all)

If any of the above describe your situation, you should seriously consider getting some advice from a divorce solicitor.

When you look at their fees upfront, yes, solicitors will seem expensive.

But mistakes during the divorce process can be very costly too.

Overall, if you can afford it, paying for the services of a good divorce solicitor tends to be money well spent.

A divorce solicitor will charge you legal fees, but in return, they will make sure that your rights are protected and that any agreement that you reach with your partner is fair and legally binding.

Plus they’ll look after all the paperwork and attend court with you.

But if you’re sure you want to proceed with a DIY divorce, there are places where you can ask questions if you run into difficulties:

  • Also, when it comes to filling out the divorce forms, you can arrange an interview with the Matrimonial Office. The staff there can check that you have filled in your forms correctly (though they cannot offer legal advice). There is a small fee for this service (£59 at the time of writing).

So in summary, yes, you can do a DIY Divorce in Northern Ireland.

But it’s not always a simple process and if you run into any problems, you should always reach out for advice.

In the long run, it can be a lot cheaper to get good advice at the outset, rather than making costly mistakes and trying to correct them at some point further down the line.

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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