Relationships are a complicated arrangement between individuals which in most circumstances will develop positively. However in certain instances relationships will become strained or suffer as a result of family or other pressures, and may need to be brought to an end.
Relationship breakdown is a distressing and unpleasant experience. At Miller Samuel Hill Brown, our specialist Divorce and Dissolution solicitors provide clear advice and support to help guide our clients through this increasingly complex area of law. We will work with you to ensure that the matter is dealt with efficiently and carefully, offering a range of complimentary family law services, to help avoid unnecessary heartache.
Divorce and Dissolution are the only ways to bring relationships that have been recognised in law, through marriage or civil partnership, to an end. In Scotland, the only way to be able to pursue a Divorce or Dissolution is where certain criteria have been satisfied. Essentially, before a Divorce or Dissolution can be pursued it will have to be shown that you and your partner are no longer able to sustain a marriage/civil partnership or that the relationship no longer exists on a permanent basis. In Scotland, this will be the case where the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.
The most common instance that demonstrates an irretrievable breakdown in a relationship is separation. Depending on how long you and your partner have been separated will have an impact on whether or not you can apply for a Divorce or Dissolution:
An important point to understand is that you needn’t necessarily have been living separately for two years before a court will accept an application for a Divorce or Dissolution. The court will only require evidence that you and your partner have not been living as a married couple or as civil partners, and in effect lead very different lives from one another.
In Scotland the courts also consider any evidence of adultery as sufficient grounds for establishing irretrievable breakdown justifying a Divorce or dissolution. It may seem indelicate but a court will require evidence or other details of adultery or unreasonable behaviour before it will grant a Divorce. Unlike instances where partners have been separated, there is no minimum time requirement for a couple to have been married or in a civil partnership before a court will consider granting an application for Divorce based on adultery.
It will also be open to you to pursue a Divorce based on your partner’s unreasonable behaviour. The courts use a broad definition for what will constitute ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and will recognise violence, physical or mental abuse as proof of this. Furthermore, the courts will also take into consideration evidence of a partner being dominant towards you, or refusing to let you leave the home or speak with other family members or neighbours, as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.
Before a court will consider granting a Divorce or Dissolution, notwithstanding evidence that you and your partner are no longer able to maintain a relationship, it will need evidence that all other important matters have been addressed.
In any marriage or civil partnership there is often a home that is shared, and there are usually children. A court will need to know that both of these things have been discussed by you and your partner, and there is a plan for how they are to be dealt with.
The courts are generally reluctant to get involved with making decisions about how children are looked after – they believe that this is a decision that parents are the best placed to make. However it may be the case that you and your partner are unable to agree who is to care for children, or how contact with your partner is to be structured. If this is the case, the court will make a decision that protects the child’s interests.
The court will also need to know what you and you partner have agreed, if at all, in terms of how children are to be supported financially. The agreement between you and your partner can either be in writing or made verbally.
The court will be aware that both you and your partner are entitled to live in the property that you have been living in prior to applying for a Divorce or Dissolution. However, the court is able to take rights away from you or your partner to reflect the situation, or if there is any evidence of violence or mental abuse in the relationship.
If your partner owns the property which you have been living in, and you have left that property, the court may grant an order that allows you to take up residence there again. This will normally reflect childcare agreements.
The court will also make enquiries as to how the finances of the property are managed, normally with a view to making a decision on where any children are to live. You and your partner will still be required to honour any arrangements you have made. For example, if a mortgage for a property has been granted in your name, you will still be liable to make all future mortgage repayments. The same will also apply if your name is the only one on a Tenancy Agreement.
There are numerous important issues that must be considered in Divorce or Dissolution proceedings such as children and their future care, property and finances. At Miller Samuel Hill Brown, our friendly solicitors will clearly explain to you the law of Divorce or Dissolution and the implications it has for you.
We endeavour to resolve family disputes without resorting to litigation, through negotiation or mediation. We will, however, represent you in court if necessary to achieve the best possible settlement for you, regarding your property, money, children or any other issue.
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At Miller Samuel Hill Brown we provide clear, expert advice on all aspects of family law - based in Glasgow City Centre, our family lawyers also help clients in Glasgow's West End, South Side, Paisley and across Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Central Scotland. Let us help you. Please contact our Divorce and Dissolution specialist Charles Brown on 0141 221 1919 or fill in our online contact form.
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