Going through a divorce is an emotionally challenging time, not just for the couple involved but their family members, too. From living arrangements to custody of children, there are many practicalities that must be considered.
When divorce comes later in life, things can be significantly more complicated. It may be the case that one or both parties have been married previously or have children from past relationships, and issues can arise over pensions, the family home and combined assets that have been built up over many years.
If you are over 50 and want to divorce your spouse, there are various things to think about to safeguard your future, including:
• division of financial assets like pensions,
• matrimonial property,
• children from previous relationships,
• children you have with your spouse, and
• living arrangements.
As there is a 'no fault' principles in Scotland, when divorcing, neither spouse will receive a financial penalty for their behaviour.
In cases where you apply for a divorce and have not agreed on childcare arrangements between you and your spouse, the Sheriff Court will require details of any step-children, adopted children, and children you have had with your spouse. This doesn't include foster children. For children under 16, you will need to provide details of where they will live and who they will live with, as well as financial support arrangements. The court will always aim to decide what is in the child's best interests.
If you have children over 16, you will need to outline how that child will be provided for until they reach 18 or 19, and are out of full-time non-advanced education. If your child is in full-time further education, provisions will need to be planned for them up to the age of 25. Unless you can't agree with your spouse on these arrangements, the court will make decisions to rectify disagreements.
The Family Law (Sc) Act 1985 states that the net value of matrimonial property must be fairly divided between two spouses when they divorce. To calculate the net value, matrimonial debts are taken away from matrimonial assets.
Matrimonial property includes things like the family home that you purchased when married or items you bought while married. A house that belonged to one spouse before the marriage does not fall under the scope of matrimonial property unless there is scope to argue it was acquired before the marriage for use by the couple as a family home. It is important to seek professional legal advice to ensure your rights are protected and a fair outcome is achieved.
Pensions are also considered matrimonial property. Pension providers will be asked to provide a Cash Equivalent Value at a relevant time, which can incur a cost. Once the value is obtained, it can be determined how much of the pension fell within the period of marriage so that it can be divided evenly. Contributions made before marriage will not count. Pensions can often be one of the most substantial assets for older couples who are divorcing.
You and your family's well-being is a priority for our divorce solicitors, and we can assist you in reaching a agreement that protects your financial and property interests, while working to communicate constructively with other parties to minimise conflict, so that your family can focus on the future. Call for a free, initial consultation in Glasgow on 0141 404 6575, and in Coatbridge on 0141 404 6575, or get in touch with us via our online form.