/ Divorce / Legal v negotiation processes

Divorce: the legal process v the negotiation process

Divorces consist of two main parts: 

• the “legal” divorce process, and
• the “negotiation” process 

It’s very important that you don’t get caught up in one part of the divorce at the expense of the other. You have to focus on both. 


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.

Divorce: the legal process v the negotiation process

Here are the two processes that form part of any divorce:

  • The “Legal” Divorce Process

Firstly, there is the court procedure that legally terminates your marriage. This consists of compiling and filing the correct paperwork with the courts, a process which ends with a judge making a legal order that your marriage can be ended (Decree Nisi).

  • The “Negotiation” Process 

Secondly, there is the negotiation with your spouse about how to actually separate your lives again, in practical terms. This could include discussions about everything from how to fairly split joint savings accounts to who does the school run on a Tuesday afternoon. (This negotiation process usually ends in both parties signing up to some kind of a matrimonial agreement.)

Just because you might not have actually started the legal divorce process, does not mean that you should not think about the practical things you and your partner need to agree on to separate your lives.

(Likewise, you shouldn’t focus all of your attention negotiating the practical matters, while ignoring the legal process that you will need to complete properly get the divorce in the first place.)

If you have given thought to these issues in advance, you will be better equipped to deal with them when they arise.  

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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