Following separation, most people in due course take steps to bring their marriage or civil partnership formally to an end, and if you decide to take this step, we can guide you through the process.
There are several grounds of divorce, and we will advise which grounds may be relevant in your circumstances. However, so long as the finances have been agreed and any matters relating to any children have been dealt with, then the action of divorce is effectively an administrative exercise which we can carry out on your behalf.
Grounds for Divorce in Scotland
In Scotland, there is one ground for divorce, namely irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This is demonstrated by one of the following:
- One year separation with consent from your partner/spouse;
- Two years separation with no need for consent from your partner/spouse;
- Adultery; and
- Unreasonable behaviour.
Raising an Action for Divorce in Scotland
In order to raise an action for divorce or dissolution, you must apply to a court that has jurisdiction to hear the case. Complex regulations and rules are applied by each court when determining whether it can hear a case and those rules are different between: Scotland and the rest of the UK; Scotland and other countries in the European Union; and Scotland and countries further afield. In some cases, there may be more than one jurisdiction in which an action could be raised, and our team can advise you of the benefits and drawbacks of the options available.
The starting point is usually to raise an action in the jurisdiction where you were last living together as a married couple or as civil partners, but in reality, one or both parties to a marriage may have moved away since separation. The increasing number of international relationships also means that identifying where a couple last lived together before they were separated is not always entirely straightforward. The approach is different again in cases which are focussed solely on child-related issues, which can be further complicated in cases of child relocation or international child abduction.
Access to the marital home after separation
Issues relating to the matrimonial home and who should be entitled to occupy the property between separation and divorce frequently arise. We are happy to discuss all of the available options including continuing occupation by one spouse; continued occupation of the house by both parties while separated; early sale of the property; or transfer from one spouse to the other. If you find yourself in a situation where your access to the marital home is being restricted, or where you have concerns about the safety of yourself or your children within the home, we can seek protective measures through the courts. Please contact us as a matter of urgency if you have any concerns of this nature so that steps can be taken as quickly as possible.