Duthie Ward Solicitors, Aberdeen Scotland
Duthie Ward Solicitors, Aberdeen Scotland
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What are the grounds of divorce?
How can I get divorced?
Can we reach agreement on these other issues without getting divorced?
Dissolution of Civil Partnership

What are the grounds of divorce?
In Scotland, when a couple find that their marriage has broken down either of them may be able to apply to their local sheriff court for a divorce. The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. However, this breakdown can only be established if one of the following four circumstances can be proved:-

  • That one of you has committed adultery (whether before or after the separation), in which case the action must be raised by the other one.
  • That one of you has behaved in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to continue living with him/her (again the action to be raised by the other one).
  • That you have been separated for a continuous period of one year, in which case either of you can raise the action providing the other gives his or her written consent.
  • That you have been separated for a continuous period of two years, in which case either of you can raise the action and no consent is required.

These are commonly referred to as the four grounds of divorce.

  Richard Ward, family lawyer
How 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 for Children).

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 divorce procedure.

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.

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. See Separation.

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.

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

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42 Carden Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1UP, Scotland
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