Many of us start a new year by resolving to tackle the unpleasant jobs we were putting off from the year before. If you’ve separated from your partner, you might have sorted out the important stuff – the kids, the house, your pensions – but not quite got around to the actual divorce. While it’s not the most pleasant task, it’s usually a good idea to finalise the paperwork – especially if you are thinking of getting married again in 2022.
So, if this is one of the things on your to-do list, what’s involved?
The short of it is that most people can be divorced in 2-3 months simply by their solicitor sending paperwork to the court, and there’s no need to give evidence in front of the judge.
The long of it is that if you have kids who are still under sixteen, you will need to raise a Sheriff Court action for divorce, but this can be done via paperwork for a fixed legal fee if certain criteria are met:-
• You both agree to the divorce;
• You have sorted everything out in relation to the kids and the finances;
• You have lived apart for at least a year;
• At least one of you has lived in Scotland for the last year. (If not, there may be other options – contact us [email protected]
The first step is for your solicitor to prepare the divorce application and send it to the court. The court will then order the application to be sent to your spouse. They have 21 days to tell the court if they oppose the application.
Assuming they don’t, after the 21 days are up, we can submit a package of paperwork to the court and ask for the divorce to be granted. A few weeks later, an “Extract Decree of Divorce” will be sent to your solicitor – this is the document you need to show to confirm your divorced status. And that’s you divorced!
Sound straightforward? There are some pitfalls, as the court has very strict procedural requirements – if anything, no matter how minor, is wrong everything will be sent back, causing delay and expense. Also, divorce applications always need to include supporting evidence in the form of sworn written statements (Affidavits) which must cover certain topics in a certain format. A specialist family law solicitor understands these requirements. While there are a lot of boxes to tick, we can guide you through this so you don’t have to worry about dates and deadlines.
Even so, things occasionally do not go to plan. This is why family lawyers always advise their clients to finalise the divorce before making any wedding plans. If you’re going to tie the knot again in 2022, it’s best to get the divorce sorted before you commit to any arrangements. You don’t want to find yourself losing deposits and so on because you can’t proceed – life is uncertain enough right now.
Even if remarriage isn’t on the cards, another thing to consider is that even if you’re separated, your spouse still has some inheritance rights if you pass away, even if you have a Will (and if you don’t, that’s another thing we recommend putting on the 2022 to-do list).
Certainty is also important when it comes to legal fees. At Watermans we can normally offer a fixed price for dealing with your unopposed divorce, payable in three instalments to help you budget. If divorce is on your to-do list for 2022, get in touch to find out how we can help.