Separation and divorce are major events in life. They can cause emotional stress and financial worries. Our Family Lawyers aim to guide you as painlessly as possible through the jungle of legal rules and practices which can often be daunting and confusing, especially during such a difficult time.
If you are married or in a registered civil partnership then the way in which your finances should be dealt with is governed by law. The focus of the law is on a clean break for those involved and also for a fair division of any matrimonial or partnership property. Various principles are applied when considering what amounts to fair sharing of the matrimonial property. We can guide you through the law in this area and work with you to negotiate the most favourable financial settlement for you. Often the best financial settlement is simply something that allows both you and your ex-partner to move forward. We can also advise you on maintenance for children and for spouses (known as aliment in Scotland and known as alimony in England). The negotiated settlement is then put in writing by way of a Separation Agreement, which both of you undertake to adhere to.
If financial provision can be agreed in this way, there are no children of the marriage or civil partnership under 16 years of age, and there is a ground for divorce then a Simplified Divorce Application can be made. Your local Sheriff Court will then grant decree of divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership. You need not go to Court.
There are two grounds of divorce (for marriages) or dissolution (for registered civil partnerships) in Scotland. They are:-
1. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership. This ground can be established by showing that there has been one of the following four situations:-
- One of the couple has committed adultery;
- One of the couple has behaved unreasonably;
- You have not lived together as a couple for at least one year and you both agree to divorce or dissolution; and
- You have not lived together as a couple for more than two years (no consent required).
2. Issue of an Interim Gender Recognition Certificate in respect of either one of you.
If matters cannot be agreed between you, or there is an urgent need for Court involvement (for example, to regulate who your children live with or to protect you from your partner), then Court action will be required. People often find going to Court stressful and worrying, but our Family law solicitors will let you know what is involved and guide you through the process.
Courts are often not the best places in which to resolve matrimonial or relationship disputes. Negotiation out with the Court process, perhaps by a less traditional method such as mediation or Collaborative Family Law
, can also provide a quicker, cheaper and less stressful solution.
Particular additional issues arise where there are children of the relationship under 16 years old. Please see our separate Child Law
page if this applies to you.
If you are separating from your partner, but you are not married to them or in a registered civil partnership, please see our Cohabiting Couples