Diamond Heron Solicitors are specialised Family Law practitioners who are equipped to deals with all areas of Family & Matrimonial Law to include separation, divorce, financial disputes and children’s contact. Going through a divorce, separation or relationship breakdown, is likely to be a stressful time, particularly if there are children involved. Our dedicated team have considerable experience in guiding clients through the process and can provide sensible and practical advice on all family law matters. Our services in this area include:


When a marriage has irretrievably broken down it can be dissolved by a Court of competent jurisdiction to legally end the marriage.

The Family and Matrimonial team at Diamond Heron Solicitors will ensure that you are informed on all decisions that must be taken and provide professional and practical advice.

Financial Relief

A divorce alone does not deal with the financial breakdown of a marriage. In order to deal with the separation of finances, a financial settlement can be entered into also known as a Matrimonial Agreement. This will form a legally binding contract and will crystallise the agreement entered into by the parties.

Should a Matrimonial Agreement not be possible, then an application to the Court for Ancillary Relief can be made. The Court will consider the financial history of the parties with the view to reaching a fair and equitable outcome.

Children- Public & Private Law

We at Diamond Heron Solicitors are able to provide expert legal advice in relation to child contact proceedings, protection from Domestic Abuse, parental rights, Hague Convention cases, international child abduction, care proceedings, grandparent contact, private adoption, relocating with children, public law adoption and medical consent with your children.

Below we answer some of our FAQ’s in Family Law:

The grounds for are as follows:-

A. Two Year Separation and one party Petitions for Divorce and the other party consents.
B. Five Year Separation with no consent required.
C. Unreasonable behaviour.
D. Adultery.
E. Desertion.

You need to consider the following:-

  1. Where am I going to live?
  2. Should I transfer my income to a separate Bank Account rather than pay into a Joint Bank Account?
  3. Should I transfer a share of our joint savings to my sole name?
  4. Can I afford to rent alternative accommodation and continue to pay a share of the mortgage on the matrimonial home?
  5. What would my additional outgoings be e.g. payment of child maintenance, spousal maintenance in addition to rent on alternative accommodation?
  6. Should we go for Family Mediation or Counselling?

There are a raft of legal proceedings available to you under different legislation. Some common examples (but not a full list) are as follows:-

  • Application for Spousal Maintenance in the Magistrates Court.
  • Application for Non Molestation Order in the Magistrates Court.
  • Application for an Occupation Order in the Magistrates Court.
  • Issue of Divorce Proceedings in the County Court or High Court.
  • Issue of Ancillary Relief Proceedings in the County Court or High Court in respect of the division of the matrimonial assets.

Go to the following Website – www.nidirect.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance and this will give you an online calculator to work out how much Child Maintenance you will be liable to pay if you are the absent parent.

. It is necessary for each spouse to have independent legal advice i.e. to instruct a separate Solicitor to act on your behalf. In addition you need to make full financial disclosure of all your assets to include your Bank Accounts, Savings, Investments, Life Insurance Policies, Stocks, Shares, Property, Company Directorships and all assets in your sole name or joint names with any party whatsoever.

Once financial disclosure has been made then the Solicitors can try to negotiate a settlement between the Husband and Wife. If it is not possible to settle between Solicitors Barristers can be briefed to try and negotiate a settlement and if settlement still cannot be reached at that stage then it is possible to issue Ancillary Relief Proceedings in the Court to ask a Judge to decide on the division of the matrimonial assets.

All assets in your sole name or joint names with any other person are available to be divided between the Husband and Wife. This includes (without being exhaustive list):-

  • The matrimonial home.
  • Your Savings Accounts.
  • Endowment Policies.
  • Life Insurance Polices.
  • Stocks and Shares.
  • Your Pension with your current Employer and any previous Employer.
  • Any holiday home you may own.
  • Any other assets you have worldwide.

You need to take professional legal advice and also possibly obtain an Actuary Report in respect of your division of your Pension between the Husband and Wife. The reason is it is common for a Court to Order a “Pension Sharing Order” in respect of your Pension. This means a share of one spouses Pension will be transferred to the other spouse to try and achieve equality of Pensions between the spouses.

This can be a complicated area and professional specialised advice is necessary.

The starting point for the division of any assets between the spouses is equality i.e. a 50/50 split. However the Courts may favour the spouse who is re-housing the children of the marriage who are still minors and grant a slightly higher percentage share in respect of the matrimonial home to that spouse.
This depends if there is a disparity between the income of the Husband and Wife. If the Husband is the higher income earner then the Court may grant Spousal Maintenance in favour of the Wife. Again this is a complex area and specialised legal advice is suggested.
If you both enter into a financial agreement this is incorporated into a Contract known as a “Separation Agreement”. It basically means both of you have made full financial disclosure and have agreed on the division of the split of the matrimonial assets. The Agreement sets out quite clearly how those assets are to be divided and generally the legal costs are borne by each party in respect of their own costs.

These are legal proceedings ancillary to the Divorce asking the Court to grant relief i.e. a decision on how to divide up the matrimonial assets between the spouses. It is conducted by written Affidavit for each person setting out their current income and assets. The Court provides ability for each party to provide full financial disclosure and once this process has been completed the Court allows for a “Financial Dispute Resolution” Hearing in front of a Master of the Matrimonial Court to give an indication if this went to full Hearing how the Court is likely to decide it. If the parties decide to follow the Master’s guidance at the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing a Separation Agreement can be drawn up and this brings a conclusion to the matter.

If the parties do not agree with the decision of the Master at the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing the parties can then go for a full Hearing in front of another Master of the Matrimonial Court to rule judicially on the division of the matrimonial assets.

When parties split and there are children involved, the paramount consideration should be the welfare of the child/ren. Court should be the last resort however should judicial involvement be required in private law situations, we can assist you in making an application for orders such as Residence Order, Contact Order, Specific Issues Order, Prohibited Steps Order and Parental Responsibility Order.

We at Diamond Heron Solicitors can advise you on how to navigate parenting after separation.

If you are facing public law involvement from the Trust, we can represent you in those proceedings to include Supervision and Care Orders, non accidental injury and adoption. We would advise you to contact us as soon as possible to ensure that you have independent legal advice.

Karen Edwards is a member of the specialist Children Order Panel accredited by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Our Family Law Team