/ Divorce / Important divorce questions

3 important divorce questions you should be considering

The key stumbling blocks in most divorces surround the areas of:

• arrangements for children
• what to do with the marital home, and 
• financial settlements

If you run into issues during your divorce, they are likely to fall into one of these three areas. So you should be thinking ahead about how you are going to deal with them.


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.

3 important divorce questions you should be considering

If you have given thought to these issues in advance, you will be better equipped to deal with them when they arise as part of the negotiation part of the divorce.

Here are some of the common things you need to consider:

What happens to the children (if there are any)?

  • who will they live with?
  • when will they visit the other parent, how long will they stay, who will do the picking up, etc?
  • how will key upbringing decisions be made (schooling, religion, etc)?

What happens to the matrimonial house? 

  • will the matrimonial home need to be sold or can you afford to keep it?
  • will one spouse be able to buy out the other’s share?
  • what will happen to the mortgage?

What about money?

  • how will the finances be split? (e.g. any joint savings accounts, pensions, etc.)
  • what about cars/hire purchases/other liabilities?
  • will one party need to pay child/spousal maintenance?


Remember, many of these issues could have very clear answers in your mind, but you should anticipate how your ex would react to your suggestions.

It’s very easy to say: “this is how it is going to be, and my word is final” but that won’t get you very far in a negotiation.

Your ex is far more likely to be open to compromise if you approach the negotiations in a constructive and positive way.

Ultimately, however you approach these negotiations, they always get resolved in one of two ways:

  • The first way is for you and your spouse to come to a voluntary agreement about how things are going to work.

Also known as a Matrimonial Agreement, this can set out how you both can separate your lives in a reasonable and practical way.

  • The second way is to issue court proceedings (i.e. "Ancillary Relief") and to ask a judge to decide on these issues.

The first option, the Matrimonial Agreement, is the most practical, cost-effective and sustainable way to solve these issues.

Even if you and your spouse cannot agree on everything, you should do your best to agree on as much as you can, before even considering referring the matter to the courts.

Asking the courts to make these decisions for you can be risky.

Court proceedings can be hugely expensive, they can drag on for months (or years), they take a huge emotional toll on everyone – and in the end, there is no guarantee that a judge will give you what you want (and the judge’s decision is final).

So, in line with what we have talked about already, once you have made the decision to get your divorce, think about these issues in a calm, unemotional and pragmatic way – insofar as is possible.

That’s the approach that will serve you best.

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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