posted on September 17th, 2021

Curran Bowles Family Law Solicitors

With the pandemic and its associated pressures resulting in an increase in family breakdowns and a reported increase in separation and divorce, Clare Curran, Director of Curran Bowles Family Law Solicitors, a firm specialising in separation, divorce, and other family law issues throughout Northern Ireland, explains the principles a court will apply in dividing a couple’s finances, in the event of a separation.

As a general rule, the court will approach any case on the basis of sharing those assets acquired or earned during the marriage equally between the parties. However, the court may depart from this starting point if, for example, one spouse has made a significant contribution, the marriage was very short, or if one party has engaged in financial misconduct, such as reckless spending.

Where there are insufficient assets and sharing would result in a spouse’s needs, or the needs of the children not being met, the court may redistribute the assets or make orders for maintenance to achieve a reasonable outcome.

When looking at the parties’ needs, the court can consider the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, where the assets allow, as there may be a difference between what one party needs to survive and what is needed to maintain their lifestyle. Following a couple’s separation, this may not always be possible to achieve but this is a factor which can be taken into account.

The court will always treat the needs of any minor children as its paramount concern and will try to ensure that they are appropriately housed and do not suffer unnecessarily. Where necessary and appropriate, Orders can also be made relating to child maintenance and to school fees.

The exact nature of the outcome of a case will depend hugely on the individual circumstances, which makes specialist legal advice at an early stage advisable. At the very least, the court will try to meet the needs of the individuals and of the children on separation.

If you are contemplating separation or divorce, and need legal advice, get in touch with our specialist team at Curran Bowles Family Law by telephoning 028 91871880 to discuss your situation in confidence or by email to

Curran Bowles Family Law is the sister company of Peter Bowles + Co Solicitors. With offices in Saintfield, Comber and Lisburn, Peter Bowles + Co Solicitors provides the highest quality legal representation to clients across the country in areas including litigation, conveyancing, and employment law. For further information, please see

Appearing in this month’s issue of Ulster Tatler.