Divorce in Scotland can be a minefield. In this section we will attempt to demystify it for you so that you have a clearer idea of what process is applicable to your personal situation.
1) There is only one ground of divorce in Scotland- irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
Irretrievable breakdown of marriage can be one of the following:
a. One year’s separation with your spouse’s consent
b. Two year’s separation without your spouse’s consent
d. Unreasonable behaviour
If you can prove either adultery or unreasonable behaviour you can divorce immediately. You will need an independent third party to corroborate this.
2) A simplified or “quickie” divorce is for couples who have no children under the age of 16
A simplified divorce is based on either one year separation with consent or two years separation. The cost of a simplified divorce is significantly less than a regular divorce. We often advise clients to wait a few years until their children are over 16 so that costs are reduced for them.
3) Costs of divorce can vary dramatically.
If you choose or are forced to deal with the resolution of your children and finances within the context of your divorce action, fees can be tens of thousands of pounds. Sometimes your spouse will divorce you and you will require to defend your position. Here at BTO, we try our best to ensure that our clients have separation agreements in place before they divorce. That way, issues such as finances and children are resolved before divorce. In those cases our costs can range between £375 and £1150 depending on whether you have children under 16. Sometimes we advise our clients to litigate. Sometimes their spouse is being difficult and delaying settlement or offering a financial package that is far less than we think a court would award. In those cases we recommend court. Each case turns on its own facts and circumstances. We will always make sure that if you do pursue matters through the courts that it makes sound economic sense. For example, there is no point spending £12,000 to get an extra £5000. There is however a lot of point in spending £12,000 in order to get an additional £100,000!
4) You need to pay the court for your divorce as well.
Court dues range from £123 to £243 for undefended actions. If you have to attend hearings in court, you need to pay the court for the hearings.
5) You can ask for lots of different things in your divorce action.
For example, divorce, maintenance, sale of the family home and contact with your children. You do not need to raise separate court actions for different matters.
6) How long will it take?
A simplified or undefended divorce will take about two to three months. Contested cases where children, finances and property are involved are likely to take somewhere from nine months to one year.
7) Stuck with the wrong solicitor?
You can elect to transfer your case at any point. After you have signed up as a client and after we receive your files from your previous solicitors we offer up to two hours of our time free of charge to familiarize ourselves with your files so you benefit from a seamless transfer without additional cost. Please note you will still require to pay for your initial meeting.
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