Legal Advice Questions & Answers - April 2018


I’ve lived with my husband for 20 years and we have two children aged 15 and 13. My husband is always drinking to excess and this results in my having endured several beatings with injuries ranging from black eyes to broken bones. I’ve tried to keep things together for the children’s sake but I think they are now suffering from being subjected to so many nasty scenes. The trouble is I don’t believe in divorce. It is against my Christian upbringing and my family might disown me. What can I do?


First of all you don’t have to divorce. You could take proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act for an injunction to stop your husband from physically abusing you and also mental abuse can be included. You would ask the Court to make a Non-molestation Order so as to prevent this. You can also ask the Court to make an Order that your husband has to leave the property. It would alleviate your immediate problem and then you can decide what else you want to do.

Instead of divorce, you could apply for a Judicial Separation which is identical in format to divorce proceedings but the case stops at the stage of the decree nisi. There is no decree absolute which means you can’t remarry and you can’t make any claims against your husband’s pensions if he has any. It doesn’t provide for finality but it doesn’t stop you from asking the

Court to resolve your financial issues. So this really is something your family might not object to. After all they must see how unhappy you are or have witnessed all of the bruises and breakages of bones. They must worry about you, so I think this action might be acceptable. Of course there are some faiths e.g. the Catholic Faith, whereupon you can acquire an annulment although there are many conditions to be met before the Pope agrees to such. It’s worth consulting your Pastor or Priest to talk it over.

Above all, you have to consider what is best for your children. You don’t want them to think that their father’s behaviour is normal. What affect would such have in their own relationships? They probably feel inadequate in not being able to protect you.

So if your husband torments you again do call the Police as they are likely to remove him from your home, so allowing you time to acquire an injunction to prevent him return at all. You must protect yourself.

EssentialsMAG legal advice contributor is Carol McGuire of Thomas Andrews


Victoria Lee