Our team at Taylor & Henderson can advise on a full range of legal services in Scotland, including family law.

We can help you through a difficult time and allow you to progress with your life, working together to achieve the outcome you desire.

Below we have included a beginner’s guide to divorce and dissolution proceedings.

What is a Divorce?

  • A divorce is the ending of the legal contract of marriage.

How do I get Divorced?

  • You can only get a divorce by applying to the court and for a decree of divorce to be granted.
  • This is normally by the Sheriff Court.

What is a Civil Partnership?

  • A civil partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered by two people.
  • A civil partnership gives you the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage.

How do I end a Civil Partnership?

  • The process for ending a civil partnership is called dissolution.
  • If you want to end your civil partnership before one of you dies you need to get permission from a court.

  What is the procedure for Divorce and Dissolution?

  • There are two types of procedure in Scotland that can be used to apply for divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
  • These are known as simple procedure and ordinary procedure.

What is Simple Procedure?

  • Simple procedure, also known as simplified divorce, is also applicable to a civil partnership dissolution, and can often be completed within a four-to-six-week period.
  • The paperwork will vary depending on the court you lodge the divorce with.
  • On completion, the application form will require the parties sign an affidavit.

Do I need to appear in Court?

  • No, the parties do not need to appear in court for simple procedure divorces.

What is the Criteria for a Simplified Divorce?

  • The marriage or partnership has broken down irretrievably based on either one-year separation with consent, or two years without consent;
  • Because of the issue of an interim gender recognition certificate;
  • There are no children of the marriage or partnership under the age of 16;
  • There are no outstanding financial matters to resolve;
  • You and your spouse or partner are not able to manage your affairs because of mental illness, personality disorder, or a learning disability;
  • There are no other court proceedings which might result in the end of your marriage or civil partnership.

What happens if one of the criteria does not apply?

  • If the answer is no to any of these questions, then you cannot use simple procedure, and ordinary procedure will need to be used instead.

What is an Ordinary Divorce?

  • A divorce procedure which must be used in all cases where there are children under the age of 16.
  • This procedure must also be used if all the criteria for a simplified divorce cannot be satisfied.

What does it mean if I raise the action?

  • If you are applying for the divorce, you will be known as the pursuer and your ex-partner will be known as the defender.

Am I best trying to resolve matters before raising an action?

  • During an ordinary divorce, the defender must decide whether they agree with what you are suggesting.
  • This regards children, money, and property.

 Will I need to go to Court?

  • If the parties cannot agree on matters, they will have to attend court for judicial intervention.
  • It is beneficial for both parties to try and reach an agreement before going to court.

What do I need to establish for a Divorce?

  • You need to prove there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage.

 The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can be proved if;

  • There is unreasonable behaviour;
  • There is adultery;
  • You both agree to the divorce, and you have lived separate lives for at least one year;
  • One of you does not agree to the divorce and you have lived separately lives for at least two or more years.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

  • We always recommend that parties cooperate to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
  • This can be done by signing a separation agreement, which often includes financial matters.
  • This also generally includes care arrangements for the children as well.
  • The separation agreement is a document which sets out the agreements and obligations that each party must fulfil to give effect to the agreement.
  • This will be signed by both parties and registered.

What is Matrimonial Property?

  • Assets arising from a marriage are known as the matrimonial property.

 How is the Matrimonial Property divided?

  • The starting point for dividing matrimonial property is by applying the fair sharing principle.
  • This is generally understood to be an equal share.
  • The court can depart from this principle if it is justified by special circumstances.

 What is an example of special circumstances?

  • An example of this would be where one of the spouses or civil partners has pre-marital assets which have been used to acquire another asset during the marriage.

 Our recommendation:

  • We recommend a valuation of all assets and liabilities is obtained to determine to the total value of matrimonial property.

The benefits of a valuation:

  • A valuation will allow both parties to determine whether a balancing payment is due from one of the parties.
  • This would then allow both parties to leave on equal footing.

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Our team at Taylor & Henderson can advise on a full range of legal services in Scotland, including family law. We can help you through