How to file for divorce in Scotland

There are two ways you can file for divorce in Scotland - by using the 'simplified divorce procedure' or the 'ordinary divorce procedure'.

Simplified divorce procedure

With the simplified divorce procedure, the divorce is deemed to be 'uncontested' and so the divorce procedure is pretty straightforward.

It's, therefore, quite easy to do a DIY Divorce in Scotland, but you need to meet the following criteria.

  1. You and your spouse must have no children under the age of 16, including adopted children or children accepted into the family, and you both must have agreed on the division of property and any maintenance payments, for the divorce to be ‘uncontested’.

  2. You, or your spouse, must have resided in Scotland for the year preceding the divorce, or consider Scotland your principal place of residence.

  3. Your marriage has broken down irretrievably as you and your spouse have lived apart (1) for at least one year and your spouse is willing to consent to the divorce, or (2) for at least two years.

  4. Neither of you has any mental health problems that would prevent you from managing your affairs should you divorce.

If, after the separation, you live together temporarily to attempt a reconciliation for a period of not more than six months, you can still apply for a divorce under the simplified divorce procedure, but you cannot count the period during which you were living together.

So, for example, if you separated for one year, lived together for four months and then separated again, you would have to wait one year and four months from the date you first separated if your spouse consents to a divorce, or two years and four months if your spouse doesn't consent to a divorce in Scotland.

To divorce in Scotland using the simplified divorce procedure, you need to find your marriage certificate and complete one divorce form.

Ordinary divorce procedure

The ordinary divorce procedure is more complicated than a simplified divorce in Scotland. You must use this divorce procedure in the following circumstances:

  1. You have children under 16 years of age, including adopted children and children accepted into the family, even if the divorce is uncontested.

  2. The divorce is uncontested, with or without children under 16 years of age, if the grounds for divorce are unreasonable behaviour or adultery.

  3. All contested divorces.

If you need to divorce using the ordinary divorce procedure, you will need the assistance of a solicitor.

To divorce in Scotland using this procedure, you must serve an Initial Writ. The Writ includes the name and address of the husband and wife and the grounds for divorce

The divorce form provides brief details, including the date of marriage, the dates of birth of the children under 16 and the date of separation. It also provides brief details regarding the care arrangements for the children.

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Published on: October 25, 2010

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