I am Separating or looking for a Divorce. What should I do?
We understand that the end of a marriage or civil partnership will be a very stressful and upsetting time. With our help, we can take some of the stress away and make sure that you get the right advice. The correct advice is crucial to ensure that you get what you are entitled to, that your wife or husband can’t claim from you in the future and your divorce is granted without you having to pay a large legal bill.
How do I get a Separation Agreement?
To start the process of getting a Separation Agreement in place please contact one of our experienced family solicitors. We will have a meeting with you to advise you on your options, the best way to proceed and the various ways you can pay for your legal costs.
We try and resolve matters quickly and as amicably as possible and only if we cannot do that would you have to take court action. In our experience, even the most difficult separations can be resolved without the courts being involved.
What should I do if my partner is being unreasonable?
We have years of experience in dealing with difficult situations. When faced with a difficult partner the best option is to seek legal advice. Our job is to support you, contact your partner so you don’t have to and ensure that we take all legal steps we can to have matters resolved quickly. If your partner will not respond or agree to any proposals then we can advise you on the best way to proceed to force your partner to agree to resolve matters.
Is it easier to get a Divorce if we don’t have children?
If you do not have children under the age of 16 years old and all money matters have been resolved between you then you are able to apply for something called a “Simplified Divorce”. This type of divorce involves applying to the court on the basis that you have been separated for more than 1 year with your spouse’s consent or 2 years without. You can apply for this divorce yourself by contacting your local court or have solicitors deal with this matter for you. We can deal with the forms, serve the papers on your spouse and apply for the divorce on your behalf quickly. Also, we can advise you whether you have any financial claims before you apply for a divorce. Once divorced it is very hard to attempt to make any financial claims therefore it is essential these are looked at.
Who is entitled to keep the house?
Unfortunately, the answer to this will depend on various factors such as is the house in joint names? Who has been paying the bills? Can one of you afford to buy the other one out? Do you both agree to have the house sold? It may be that you want to stay in the house until your children are older so they can stay at their local school.
There are various options that can be looked at once we have been able to meet with you and get information on all the various factors that would be relevant. We can then look at how you want to proceed and advise you whether this is possible and then the best way to achieve this. People are always surprised at the options that are open to them even when for example they couldn’t get a mortgage themselves when the house was first bought.
Grounds for Divorce?
There is now only one ground of divorce which is “The marriage has broken down irretrievably”. This ground can be met by a party seeking to show that this has been caused by:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Non-cohabitation for a period of one year, with the consent of the other party.
- Non-cohabitation for a period of two years
What is the procedure for a Divorce?
There are 2 ways court processes that can be followed to get divorced in Scotland:
- Simplified procedure
- Ordinary divorce action
If you do not have children under the age of 16 years old and also do not have any money matters to resolve then you would use the Simplified Divorce Procedure.
If, however, you do have younger children or/and there are matters to be resolved which could involve the children as well as money, you would use the Ordinary Cause Procedure. This type of action can be very complicated and we would recommend that you seek legal advice. In such actions, we would seek to get a Separation Agreement in place to reduce any time in court and any legal costs. Otherwise, court action can quickly become expensive.
How much will it cost?
Every separation and divorce are very different so it is difficult to give a clear answer on legal costs. Once you have had a meeting with us we will be able to give you a quote for the costs and also we can in some cases offer a fixed fee Separation Agreement and payment instalments. We wouldn’t give you a surprise bill at the end!
I am an unmarried father what legal rights do I have as regards to my children.
If you are named on the birth certificate then you have the same parental rights and responsibilities as the mother. This means that you are both able to make decisions and have equal contact unless there is an agreement or court order to the contrary.
If you are not on the birth certificate or you are being refused contact with your children it is important that you take legal advice. We can advise you what steps you can take to get contact and how much contact a court would be likely to give you. The best interests of the children are better met by having contact with both parents.
Do I have to pay for my children when I don’t see them?
Each parent owes their children “aliment” this is a regular monthly payment towards the children’s living costs. The Child Maintenance Service can assist in assessing the level of payment you would have to pay as it will depend on if you are going to start having contact with your children, your income, if you support other children and so on.
This duty to pay aliment is due even if you do not see your children and in some cases, you may have to support your children up until the age of 25 years old. Failure to pay aliment can have serious legal consequences for you so it is essential you understand your obligations.
We recommend that you seek legal advice on how aliment is assessed and in what type of cases it may extend to the age of 25 years old.
Is this my fault?
A recent report carried out by the charity Relate indicated 2.87 million people in the UK were in distressed relationships. So please remember there are many people who are in a similar position to yourself and we do understand the difficulties you will be going through and are here to help you through the legal process associated with this difficult time in your life.
Please contact one of our experienced Family Solicitors on 0131 524 9797 to discuss or arrange a no obligation meeting.