As the laws are slightly different in Scotland as to how they are anywhere else in the UK, we're going to give you a quick guide to divorce in Scotland. As we are the premier divorce lawyers in Scotland we are experienced in dealing with the vagaries of divorce on a regular basis, so our knowledge bank is always full!
Let's Start With the Grounds For Divorce
There are four grounds for divorce, which are Adultery, Unreasonable behaviour, A separation for one year with consent, separation for two years with no consent. For Unreasonable behaviour you would need to provide evidence in court.
There are pre-conditions for divorce which will involve both of you agreeing any outstanding issues that relate to the children you both have, property and money. If these things are agreed before anything starts, then your divorce will probably be a lot simply, in fact in might be easier for you to then go on to Separation for one or two years as grounds for your divorce.
Do-it-yourself Divorce Procedure
There are two types of divorce proceedings, the first is one you can do yourself. This do-it-yourself procedure is perfect for those with no children under 16 and the grounds for divorce are the two forms of separation with and without consent, with no outstanding issues with regards to money, children or property. You can get your application form from the Sheriff's Court. All it requires is for the form to be filled in with both your signatures, then swear an affidavit which should be done before a Notary Public. This can then be submitted to the court with your marriage certificate and of course your fee. This type of divorce is usually granted within days, in some cases weeks, but it doesn't take long.
The Ordinary Procedures
If you are divorcing on the grounds of adultery or even unreasonable behaviour and you have children under 16, or if you have outstanding issues such as property, money and children, then you'll probably need the court to make decisions and this option is a much more formal procedure.
This can be an extremely stressful procedure as it's quite complex and there are two sub-procedures. These are known as defended actions and undefended actions. The first is where both partners cannot agree so they put the case before the court. The are pleadings, and then the case is brought before the Sheriff, there will be witnesses, and they will give evidence.
With the undefended actions, this uses the affidavit procedure, where both partners agree to a Separation Agreement. A document, known as an Initial Writ will be prepared and signed. The court will also be paid a fee and then submit this to the court.
The Writ will ask the court to grant a divorce, but does not ask for the court to award any expenses. The person raising the divorce will pay the costs. A warrant is granted to serve an Initial Writ and the action will be served upon the Defender by a Solicitor.
The Defender can accept service and then dispense with the 21 day period of notice. This is only done when either of the parties requires a divorce sooner than later. The case will then proceed with any evidence in the form of sworn statements, the Affidavits. They are then submitted to the court. If the Sheriff is satisfied with the information he has been given, there will be no need for a personal appearance to give evidence.
Are You Considering Divorce?
Now you've read our guide, keep in mind that you will still need legal advice from divorce lawyers. If you are still thinking about divorce then why not make an appointment to come and talk to us, and we can give you impartial, practical advice on what you should do next.