Divorce in Scotland

Divorce is the term used for the legal dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership between two people. Every situation is different and in some cases, obtaining a divorce may be a relatively quick and straightforward process in legal terms at least.

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Divorce in Scotland

The grounds of divorce in Scotland are:

  • One year's separation with the consent of both parties.

This is the most commonly used ground. The parties must not have any continuing financial dispute. One spouse will raise proceedings and the other spouse must sign a consent form. Where there are no children under 16 there is a quick simplified procedure. If there are any children under 16 evidence has to be produced in affidavit form (statements signed in front of a notary public) about the child's welfare. Court appearances should not be necessary.

  • Two years' separation.

This process is very similar to ground 1 except that no signed consent of the spouse is required.

  • Unreasonable behaviour of one spouse.

This is the second most common ground and is used where the spouse seeking divorce is not prepared to wait for two years' separation, or the other spouse will not sign a consent form. Evidence of the unreasonable behaviour must be produced and verified by at least one supporting witness. It is rare for evidence actually to be given in court unless the case is fully defended. Use of affidavit evidence means that the parties may not have to appear in court.

  • Adultery

In practice, this ground is rarely used due to the difficulty of proof.

Financial provision and property adjustment orders can be made in connection with proceedings for divorce.

Divorce in England & Wales

The grounds of divorce in England & Wales are:

  • Living apart for two years. The other spouse must consent to the divorce.
  • Living apart for five years (consent of other parties not required).
  • Unreasonable behaviour of the other party, e.g. violence, excessive drinking, neglect, intimate association with another man or woman.
  • Adultery. As this is so hard to prove it is more likely that unreasonable behaviour would be cited.
  • Desertion by the other party for two years.

Undefended divorces are heard and pronounced in the divorce County Court in what is essentially an administrative procedure. The parties do not have to attend court. Defended divorces are rare and require a full hearing in open court. Financial provision and property adjustment orders can be made in connection with proceedings for divorce.

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