Mastering the Art of Financial Settlements in Family Law in Northern Ireland

Navigating the complexities of financial settlements in family law can be a daunting task. In Northern Ireland, the landscape is nuanced and demands a keen understanding of legal principles, sensitivity to the parties involved, and strategic foresight. At Michelle Crilly Family Law, we specialise in guiding our clients through these intricate processes with expertise and compassion.

Understanding Financial Settlements

Financial settlements are arrangements made between separating or divorcing parties to distribute assets, income, and financial responsibilities. These settlements aim to ensure fair outcomes, taking into account the needs and contributions of both parties. In Northern Ireland, financial settlements can cover a wide range of matters including division of property, spousal maintenance, child support, and pensions.

Steps to a Successful Financial Settlement

1. Initial Consultation and Disclosure

The process begins with an initial consultation, where we gather comprehensive information about your financial situation. Full and frank disclosure of all assets, liabilities, income, and expenses is crucial. This transparency ensures that both parties can negotiate from an informed position.

2. Valuation and Assessment

Accurate valuation of assets, including properties, businesses, pensions, and other investments, is essential. We often work with financial experts to ascertain the true value of these assets. This stage also involves assessing the future financial needs of both parties.

3. Negotiation

Negotiation is a critical phase where we aim to reach an amicable agreement without the need for court intervention. Our approach is collaborative, focusing on open communication and mutual respect. We explore various settlement options, considering the best interests of both parties and any children involved.

4. Court Proceedings

If negotiations and mediation do not lead to an agreement, we may proceed to court. Our team is experienced in representing clients in family courts, presenting your case effectively to secure a fair outcome. The court has the authority to make binding decisions on the division of assets and financial support.

Post-Settlement Considerations

After reaching a settlement, it’s important to implement the agreement properly. This may involve transferring property titles, adjusting pension arrangements, and setting up new financial accounts. We provide ongoing support to ensure that the terms of the settlement are carried out smoothly and efficiently.

Why Choose Michelle Crilly Family Law?

At Michelle Crilly Family Law, we are dedicated to providing personalised and expert legal services. Our deep understanding of family law in Northern Ireland, combined with our commitment to our clients, sets us apart. We prioritise your needs and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes.

  • Expertise: Our team has extensive experience in handling complex financial settlements. We stay abreast of legal developments to provide informed advice.
  • Compassion: We understand the emotional challenges involved in family law disputes and offer compassionate support throughout the process.
  • Results-Oriented: Our focus is on achieving fair and practical solutions that meet your financial needs and protect your interests.

Mastering the art of financial settlements in family law requires a blend of legal acumen, strategic planning, and empathy. At Michelle Crilly Family Law, we are committed to guiding you through this journey with professionalism and care. Whether through negotiation, mediation, or court proceedings, we strive to secure the financial stability and peace of mind you deserve

For expert advice and representation in family law matters, contact Michelle Crilly Family Law today. Let us help you navigate your financial settlement with confidence and clarity.

Navigating the Exam Months with Children: Tips for Parents Going Through Separation or Divorce

As a family law solicitor, I have seen firsthand the challenges that parents face when navigating separation or divorce, especially during the exam months. The pressure to perform academically, combined with the emotional turmoil of a family breakdown, can be overwhelming. In this article, I will offer some practical tips and advice on how to support your children during this difficult time.

Communicating with Your Ex: One of the most crucial aspects of navigating the exam months with children is maintaining open communication with your ex-partner. This may seem daunting, especially if you’re not on good terms. However, it’s essential to put aside any differences and work together for the sake of your children. Discuss your child’s schedule, needs, and any concerns you may have. Make sure you’re both on the same page regarding their exam schedule, study habits, and any support they may need.

Create a Routine: Establishing a routine can provide a sense of stability and security for your children during this challenging period. Encourage your child to stick to their regular study routine, even if you’re not living together. Consistency is key, and it will help them feel more in control of their situation. Make sure you both are aware of each other’s schedules and plans, so you can coordinate accordingly.

Show Emotional Support: It’s essential to be emotionally available for your child during this time. Encourage them to express their feelings and concerns, and listen attentively to what they have to say. Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared, anxious, or overwhelmed and that you’re there to support them. Be patient and understanding, and remind them that they’re not alone.

Foster a Positive Study Environment: Create a conducive study environment that fosters focus and productivity. Ensure your child has a quiet, comfortable space to study, free from distractions. Encourage them to take regular breaks, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy diet. A positive study environment can go a long way in helping them feel more confident and prepared for their exams.

Celebrating Small Wins: Exam months can be grueling, and it’s essential to acknowledge small victories along the way. Celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This can help boost their morale and motivation. Make it a special occasion by doing something they enjoy, like going out for dinner or watching their favorite movie.

Prioritise Self-Care: It’s not just about supporting your child during this time; it’s also essential to prioritise your own self-care. Separation or divorce can be emotionally draining, and neglecting your own well-being can lead to burnout. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself, whether it’s exercise, meditation, or simply taking a relaxing bath.

Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling to cope with the stress and emotions of separation or divorce during the exam months, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A family law solicitor like myself can provide guidance on the legal aspects of your situation. You may also want to consider seeking counseling or therapy to help you navigate the emotional challenges you’re facing.

Navigating the exam months with children during separation or divorce requires empathy, understanding, and effective communication. By prioritising your child’s emotional well-being, creating a supportive environment, and celebrating small wins, you can help them feel more confident and prepared for their exams. Remember to prioritise your own self-care and seek professional help when needed. With time, patience, and support, you can guide your child through this challenging period and emerge stronger on the other side.

Michelle Crilly is a family law solicitor with extensive experience in helping families navigate complex separation and divorce cases. If you’re seeking guidance on your own situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 028 3833 4020 e.

Darkness Into Light 2024 Shines Brighter Than Ever

As May 11th approaches, so does one of the most powerful displays of unity and resilience: Darkness Into Light 2024. Supported proudly by Electric Ireland, this year’s event promises to be nothing short of extraordinary, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing fight against suicide and self-harm.

What makes Darkness Into Light 2024 truly remarkable is its ability to transcend mere charity walks and fundraisers. It’s a beacon of hope, illuminating the darkest corners of despair with the collective warmth of compassion and solidarity. From its humble beginnings in 2009 with 400 participants in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, it has evolved into a global movement, touching the lives of over 150,000 people annually.

But Darkness Into Light is more than just a fundraising event; it’s a catalyst for change. By fostering open conversations about mental health and suicide prevention, it empowers individuals to seek help and support when they need it most. It’s a reminder that no one is alone in their struggles and that together, we can overcome even the darkest of nights.

As we prepare to embark on this year’s journey, let us remember the significance of Darkness Into Light. Let us honor the memories of those we have lost and stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight. Let us be beacons of hope, casting light into the shadows of despair and reminding the world that, even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Fewer than 20% of requests for information granted under early warning domestic abuse scheme

The Irish News’ John Breslin reported that less than 20% of requests for information were granted under a domestic abuse scheme meant to serve as an early warning system for potential risks.

This percentage is lower than many forces in England and Wales, indicating a disparity. The scheme, introduced in Northern Ireland following Clare’s Law, disclosed information 300 times out of 1600 total applications over six years.

However, when requests come from partners or third parties not affiliated with the police, the disclosure rate drops to just 11%. Despite facing challenges such as low awareness and procedural issues, there’s optimism due to legislative changes, including lowering the disclosure threshold.

The scheme, named after Clare Wood, aims to prevent future violence within relationships, allowing partners or close associates to request information if they believe there’s a danger. While there are difficulties, such as lack of awareness and issues with information sharing, there’s potential for positive change with adjustments in line with recent legislative changes.

It is these adjustments I personally look forward to welcoming in order to ensure the safeguarding of all those affected.

Image copyright Sussex Police

Minister Naomi Long MLA Champions Rule of Law Pledge

In a significant move for Northern Ireland’s legal community, Minister of Justice Naomi Long MLA has stepped up as the first elected representative to pledge support for “The Pledge to Uphold the Rule of Law.” Spearheaded by the Law Society of Northern Ireland, this initiative aims to combat unfair attacks on solicitors and reinforce respect for legal professionals.

The Pledge underscores six key principles: Independence, Responsibility, Fairness, Balance and impartiality, Transparency, and Accuracy. By committing to these principles, signatories affirm their dedication to upholding the Rule of Law and supporting the independence of the legal profession and judiciary.

Minister Long’s endorsement sets a positive precedent, emphasising her commitment to fostering a fair and just society where the law is respected. Her support is a significant step forward in ensuring that solicitors can carry out their duties without undue criticism or interference. A very important step to be taken for solicitors and legal professionals today!

As other MLAs and political parties are encouraged to join in, this initiative holds promise for rebuilding trust in the legal system and promoting a culture of mutual respect and integrity.

Image : Law Society of Northern Ireland 2024

Probate Practitioner Day

What an amazing day I had at the recent Probate Practitioner Day, filled with insightful and memorable information. This networking event designed by Sheena Grattan and Michael Graham ensured all key statutory and case law developments were covered with a particular practical emphasis throughout.

There were a number of stand out moments from the event including my introduction to the hilarious “Fisk” which follows the exploits of a high end contracts lawyer who is forced to be a probate lawyer following her marriage breakdown. I loved the fact we used this as a way to look a various subject matters as a way to recap the law and practices for a probate practitioner.

We also heard from Sheena and Maeve Mullins who discussed missing beneficiaries, genealogists, insurance and much more! We had a great talk from Michael Graham about trusts as well as a question and answer session with Master Hardstaff and Julie Ann Osborne TEP. A really great and insightful day and one I would highly recommend to any colleagues in this field.

Your First Meeting with a Divorce Solicitor: A Comprehensive Guide

Going through a divorce is undeniably one of the most challenging experiences in life. Amidst the emotional turmoil, legal complexities often add another layer of stress. Your first meeting with a divorce solicitor sets the foundation for the entire process. Therefore, it’s crucial to approach it prepared and informed. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your initial consultation:

Gather Essential Documents:
Before your meeting, gather all relevant documents such as;

⁠- Marriage certificate
– Birth certificate
– Any court documents in relation to any arrangements in respect of children or any other matter pertaining to your marriage
– 2 pieces of Identification documentation- one to be photographic either a driving licence or passport to be valid for next 3 months.

Outline Your Concerns and Goals:
Take some time to reflect on your concerns, priorities, and desired outcomes. Consider aspects such as child custody, spousal support, division of assets, and any other specific issues relevant to your situation. Having a clear understanding of your goals will help your solicitor tailor their advice and strategy accordingly.

Educate Yourself:
Familiarise yourself with the divorce process and the relevant laws. This will empower you to ask informed questions during your meeting and better understand the advice provided by your solicitor. Additionally, knowing your rights and obligations can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that you make well-informed decisions.

Prepare a List of Questions:
Prepare a list of questions and concerns to discuss with your solicitor. No question is too trivial, and it’s essential to address any uncertainties you may have. Some questions to consider asking include:

What are my rights regarding custody and visitation?
How will our assets and debts be divided?
What factors determine spousal support (if applicable)?
What is the likely timeline for the divorce process?
What are the potential costs involved?
Are there alternative dispute resolution methods available?
How can I best communicate with my spouse during this process?

Manage Your Emotions:
Divorce can evoke a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and anxiety. While it’s natural to experience these feelings, try to approach your meeting with a clear and composed mindset. Your solicitor is there to provide objective legal guidance, and maintaining a level head will facilitate productive communication.

Be Honest and Transparent:
Honesty is paramount when discussing your situation with your solicitor. Provide them with all relevant information, even if it may be uncomfortable or embarrassing. Remember that your solicitor is bound by confidentiality, and withholding information could compromise the effectiveness of their advice and representation.

Preparing for your first meeting with a divorce solicitor is a crucial step in navigating the complexities of the divorce process. By gathering essential documents, outlining your concerns, educating yourself, preparing questions, managing your emotions, being honest, and considering alternative dispute resolution methods, you can approach your consultation with confidence and clarity. Remember that your solicitor is there to guide you through this challenging time and advocate for your best interests.

Get in touch with the team below

📞028 3833 4020
📞028 3839 2132

Navigating through a separation during the Christmas season.

Navigating through a separation, especially during the Christmas season, can be particularly challenging. Michelle Crilly Family Law offers insightful advice and services to help individuals through this tough time. Here are some key points to consider based on the firm’s expertise:

Maintaining Contact with Children During Divorce: It’s vital to consider the emotional and psychological impact that separation has on children. Parents should strive to provide a stable and supportive environment, understanding the range of emotions children might experience, such as confusion, guilt, sadness, and anger. Legal aspects, like child custody and visitation rights, prioritise the child’s best interests. Practical advice includes maintaining open communication with children, keeping consistent routines, collaborative co-parenting, avoiding conflict in front of children, and seeking professional help if needed.

Separation & Maintenance: When a relationship breaks down, especially if children are involved, it becomes crucial to address a range of practical and legal matters. Michelle Crilly Family Law emphasises the importance of professional advice during these times. We commit to securing the best outcome for both clients and their children. This involves guiding clients through the complexities of legal proceedings and ensuring that their rights and needs are effectively represented.

Key Qualities in a Divorce Solicitor: Selecting the right divorce solicitor is crucial. The ideal solicitor should be empathetic, communicative, and skilled in negotiation and mediation. They should be able to guide clients through financial matters, child custody issues, and provide realistic assessments of the clients’ goals and expectations. Clear communication about legal jargon, processes, and costs is also essential. A competent solicitor can help clients navigate through the legal complexities, ultimately reducing stress and legal costs.

These insights from Michelle Crilly Family Law highlight the importance of emotional sensitivity, legal knowledge, and practical strategies when navigating through a separation, particularly during emotionally charged times like Christmas. It’s recommended to seek professional guidance to ensure the best possible outcomes for all parties involved, especially children.

For more information or to discuss your specific circumstances, feel free to contact my office.

Get in Touch today!

028 3833 4020

028 3839 2132

Maintaining Contact with Children During a Divorce

Divorce is a challenging process, not just for the couple involved, but significantly for any children they may have. As a Family Law Solicitor, I, Michelle Crilly, have seen first-hand the emotional and psychological impact that parental separation can have on children. This article aims to shed light on the importance of maintaining contact with children during a divorce and offers practical advice for parents navigating this difficult journey.

Understanding the Child’s Perspective

During a divorce, children often experience a range of emotions, including confusion, guilt, sadness, and anger. They might feel torn between both parents or worry about the future. It’s crucial for parents to understand these emotions and provide their children with a stable and supportive environment.

Legal Aspects of Child Custody and Visitation

The legal system prioritises the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation rights. As a solicitor, I advise parents to familiarise themselves with these legal concepts. Custody doesn’t just determine where the child lives; it also involves decisions about the child’s education, health, and general welfare. Visitation, on the other hand, pertains to how the non-custodial parent will spend time with the child.

Practical Advice for Parents

  • Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open with your children. Encourage them to express their feelings and assure them that both parents will continue to love and support them.
  • Consistent Routines: Try to maintain consistency in their daily routines. Stability in their schedule can provide a sense of security during this time of change.
  • Co-parenting: If possible, work collaboratively with your ex-partner in parenting decisions. Presenting a united front helps minimise stress and confusion for the children.
  • Avoid Conflict in Front of Children: Shield your children from any conflicts or legal discussions. They should not feel like they have to choose sides.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if your child is struggling to cope with the divorce. Counseling can provide them with a safe space to work through their emotions.

For more information or to discuss your specific circumstances, feel free to contact my office.

Get in Touch today!

028 3833 4020

028 3839 2132

Divorce – Inherited Assets


copy of article by Michelle Crilly in March 2022 edition of Local Women magazine

If you have a legal query in relation to the above, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 028 3833 4020 or email


“I was extremely pleased that my case was carried out in a completely professional and efficient manner and throughout my case, I was treated with consideration and my Solicitor was particularly personable and friendly towards me”. - Anonymous
Michelle Crilly Family Law
“I was extremely pleased that my case was carried out in a completely professional and efficient manner and throughout my case, I was treated with consideration and my Solicitor was particularly personable and friendly towards me”. - Anonymous

“We were extremely satisfied with your service and you kept us informed every step of the way during our case. Everything was dealt with efficiently and professionally. We would recommend this firm and thank you for all of your help throughout the case” - Anonymous
Michelle Crilly Family Law
“We were extremely satisfied with your service and you kept us informed every step of the way during our case. Everything was dealt with efficiently and professionally. We would recommend this firm and thank you for all of your help throughout the case” - Anonymous
Michelle Crilly Family Law
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