can I get divorced?
Most divorces are not opposed in principle, spouses are often in
agreement that they should be divorced. However, there are important
legal consequences which follow from a divorce, and there are usually
other issues which arise and which have to be sorted out. These might
include where the children are to live and how much contact they
will have with the parent with whom they do not live (see Children
and Separation). You may have accumulated assets of various kinds
together during their marriage. These assets will have to be shared
fairly between you (see Sharing the Matrimonial
Property). Where one spouse has been substantially dependent
on the other during the marriage you may have to consider continuing
financial support following the divorce itself (See Maintenance
for a Spouse). You will also have to contribute towards
the support of any children who are not living with you(see Maintenance
These issues can be complex. It is advisable
to reach agreement on them before making the divorce application,
in order to save costs. However, if agreement cannot be reached,
the court can make various orders for “financial provision.” If you have
financial claims against your husband/wife it is essential that
these are made in the divorce action as it may not be possible
to claim after the divorce is granted. This means that a
divorce which is not opposed in principle can end up being contested
in respect of financial claims.
If there are no children under 16, neither of you is making any
financial claims, and the ground of divorce is separation for two
or five years, you can use what is known as the simplified
However, if there are children under the age of 16, or financial
claims to be made, you will have to use the sheriff court ordinary
procedure which takes longer and costs more.
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Can we reach agreement on these
other issues without getting divorced?
Yes, you can. You may not be ready to divorce or there may not
be grounds for it. Even so there are likely to be the same financial
and other issues which require to be resolved. If agreement
is reached, you can both sign a written Separation Agreement setting
out the terms agreed. By adopting this approach you may be able
to address and settle many of the issues prior to divorce itself,
and make the later divorce process simpler – and less expensive.
The legal information contained in this site is not comprehensive,
nor should it be treated as a substitute for specific legal advice
on any individual situation.
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Dissolution of civil partnership
Civil partnerships can be brought to an end, in the same way as married couples can be divorced. The grounds of dissolution are the same as the grounds of divorce explained above with the exception of adultery