News of singer KT Tunstall's divorce highlights again the difference in the formal processes of finalising a split in Scotland and England.

In England there is a two stage process of divorce, with a decree 'nisi' followed by a decree 'absolute'.

In Scotland however a judge grants a final decree of divorce when satisfied that reasons have been established to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

A divorce in Scotland can only take place after parties have resolved all of the matrimonial finances. If there are children under sixteen, satisfactory care arrangements will also need to be in place and demonstrated to a judge, usually through sworn affidavits.

The case also highlights issues that can arise as to which country's legal system deals with a divorce.

Although the couple were married in Skye, the divorce took place in London. The rules which determine where a divorce should be heard are complex and it is sometimes possible either country could legitimately hear and determine divorce proceedings, depending on a couple's living arrangements.

Usually however, the place where the couple last lived together as husband and wife will take priority in any cases where there is doubt.

However, the very different financial outcomes which can arise depending on which country's laws apply can make it worthwhile speaking to family lawyers on both sides of the border to check how the financial split on divorce might work if a couple has connections to both Scotland and England.



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