It is a reality today that a large number of marriages end in divorce. At this difficult time, there are many practical issues to be resolved. We understand your family’s well-being is important to you, and it is also vital that appropriate arrangements are put in place to care for any children of the marriage, and that financial and property affairs are carefully managed to reduce conflict and problems further down the line.
Family Lawyers You Can Trust
Our highly skilled and experienced divorce solicitors can assist you with the full range of family law solutions surrounding divorce and separation including advice regarding your children, financial provision, aliment, and separation agreements, helping you and your family move forward at what can be a highly stressful time for everyone.
Divorce in Scotland
In Scotland, you must apply to the court to obtain a divorce, whatever your circumstances. If you have children under the age of sixteen, you will need to go apply through the court by way of an ‘Ordinary action’. If there are financial matters to be resolved between you and your spouse, you may wish to seek orders from the court regarding financial provision on divorce. If there are no children under 16 and no financial matters to be resolved, you may be able to obtain a simplified divorce; a swifter and less complex process. Our solicitors know the court system inside out, and can quickly get you a solution to your problem. Our efficiency, skill and our ability to swiftly distill the legal issues in any given family problem saves undue time, stress and expense.
Whatever your circumstances, the court must be satisfied that there are grounds for divorce before decree of divorce will be granted. Broadly speaking, the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976 provides that there essentially three grounds of divorce:
(1) Unreasonable behaviour or adultery
(2) Living apart for one year, where both spouses consent to divorce
(3) Living apart for two years – consent is not required after two years’ separation
Whatever the circumstances of your separation, it is important that you seek expert legal advice as early as possible. Our family law solicitors have extensive experience of dealing with divorce cases throughout Scotland. In many cases, we are able to act on Legal Aid funding. Whether you are seeking a simplified divorce, a straightforward divorce where there are children under 16, or whether there are many outstanding issues to resolve with your spouse, we can offer the confidential, professional help you require.
Financial Provision on Divorce
When a marriage or civil partnership breaks down, financial provisions are one of the most important considerations. Writing a Separation Agreement, a contract between you and your ex-partner can help to you to come to an agreement where considerations pertaining to the family home, assets, debts, pensions, children's education, and policies and bank or credit card accounts are concerned. Once written up and signed, and registered in the Books of Council, the Separation Agreement becomes a binding and enforceable document. The Separation Agreement is voluntary and is intended to be agreed on amicable terms after a period of negotiation; where negotiation and agreement is not possible, the only option is to have the court decide on the division of assets.
Matrimonial property is all property acquired during a marriage, before the date of separation. It can also be property acquired before the marriage to be used a family home, or for the home. Gifts, inheritance and property owned before the marriage are not included as matrimonial property. The significance of matrimonial property is that once it is established, the property must be fairly shared between the two parties on divorce.
The court will apply the following principles when deciding on financial provision in a divorce application:
• Fair sharing of matrimonial property
• The economic burden of child care
• economic advantage/disadvantage of the parties
• Adjustment to a lack of financial support
• Instances of severe financial hardship
Fair sharing of matrimonial property
The matrimonial property must be shared fairly between the parties, and this is normally satisfied by each party receiving an equal share. However, the property can be divided differently if there is justification for doing so. For example, this may be the case where the matrimonial home was acquired from non-matrimonial property, such as an inheritance.
The economic burden of childcare
The financial burden of caring for children of the marriage should be shared fairly between the spouses. This principle allows a spouse a larger share of the property if they are the main carer, and live in the matrimonial home. It is also a consideration when deciding on spousal maintenance, where the parent is at home with the children.
Economic advantage and disadvantage of the parties
If one spouse enjoyed an economic advantage as a result of financial contributions made by the other spouse, the court will take account of any corresponding economic disadvantage suffered by the other party.
Adjusting to a lack of financial support
A financially dependent spouse should be awarded a periodical allowance for a maximum of three years, or capital (lump) sum payment, to enable him or her to adjust to that loss of financial support.
Instances of severe financial hardship
Where serious financial hardship as a result of the divorce is likely, a periodical allowance can be considered for a maximum period of three years. Again, a capital sum payment can also be awarded.
Divorce & Child Care Arrangements
Where parents are in disagreement regarding arrangements for a child or children of a divorce, the court can make orders relating to their care. For example, an order can be made as to who should be the main carer (residence orders) and regulating arrangements surrounding child contact (contact orders). See our page on Child Arrangements on Divorce for more details.
In deciding whether to instruct a solicitor, the cost of the service is, of course, very important but it is also important that you have every confidence that your solicitor has the relevant experience to assist you. In Scotland, the Scottish Court Service reports cases which are of some note or complexity. Solicitors at Thompson Family Law have a number of reported cases which are of legal significance and complexity. It is important to know that when you instruct a solicitor in a complex legal matter, they have the track record and ability to deal with the cases. We certainly have that and it’s what we do. Some of our notable cases are detailed below;
M v M
This was a high-value divorce case where there had been a suggestion of alienation of assets. Michael Thompson was the principle solicitor for one of the parties. This case is the leading case on the use of section 18 of The Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 which deals with settling aside of transactions which amounts to an alienation of assets.
AF v AF
A high value divorce action where one of the parties attempted to obtain a divorce in a foreign jurisdiction to avoid any financial provision in the Scottish jurisdiction. Michael Thompson successfully argued that the foreign decree of divorce should not be recognised in Scotland.
Contact our Divorce Solicitors Glasgow & Coatbridge
If you are looking to discuss any legal issues surrounding separation or divorce, contact one of our team today. We are based in Glasgow and Coatbridge, and serve clients across the whole of Scotland including Inverness, Oban, Stirling, Newton Mearns, Bothwell and Cambuslang. Our solicitors pride ourselves in providing high quality and cost-effective legal advice, and have a strong commitment to achieving positive results for our clients. We tailor solutions specifically to you and your family’s needs and circumstances; delivering cutting-edge advice and skilful court representation where needed. Contact us now via our online contact form, or give us a call on 0141 404 6575.