- Divorce in Scotland
Today Carla Lett interviews Judith Higson from Scullion law about how to get a divorce in Scotland. Judith answers commonly asked questions including;
What is the divorce law in Scotland?
How long does a divorce take in Scotland?
Is it possible get a quick divorce in Scotland?
How much is a divorce in Scotland?
How many marriages end in divorce in Scotland?
What are the benefits of using a family law solicitor in Scotland rather than a DIY divorce?
You can visit her website here https://scullionlaw.com/
You can read a blog on this subject here https://www.mybump2baby.com/how-to-get-a-divorce-in-scotland/
Carla: This podcast is sponsored by My Bump 2 Baby family protection and legal directory. To find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over to www.mybump2baby.com/familyprotectionlegal.
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[00:01:28] Hello, and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby expert podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK to answer your questions on everything, pregnancy to preschool.
[00:01:45] Today we have Judith Higson from Scullion Law in Glasgow, talking to us all about how to get a divorce in Scotland.
[00:02:09] Hello everybody and welcome to this week’s episode of My Bump 2 Baby’s expert podcast. Today, I am speaking to Judith Higson, the head of family law at Scullion law in Glasgow. Hello, Judith, how are you?
[00:02:27] Judith: Hello, Carla. I’m delighted to be here. Thanks so much for asking me all. And I’m very well, thank you.
[00:02:34] Carla: Oh, thank you. Yes, we’re delighted to have you on here. Um, today we’re going to be talking about how to get a divorce in Scotland. Aren’t we? So, so Judy, um, could you tell me what the divorce law is in Scotland?
[00:02:49] Judith: Yes, of course. So you can get divorced in Scotland. If you’ve been separated from your spouse, after a year, and they consent to the divorce. Or if you have been separated for two years, you can apply for the divorce and you won’t need their consent, or you can get a divorce on the basis of your spouses, unreasonable behaviour. And so that could mean lots of different things and does include adultery.
[00:03:20] Carla: Okay. That’s very, very interesting. So how, how long does a divorce take the, the whole process, Judith, from start to finish. What, what, at what point would they make contact with you?
[00:03:33] Judith: So you would make contact with me as soon as you have decided that you want some more information about separating. Um, so in Scotland. Um, you can look at what your options are, um, around, uh, applying for a divorce when you’ve decided that you no longer wish to be in the marriage.
[00:04:00] And that’s the period of separation. So, um, when you’ve decided that you want to look at what your options are and just discuss things with us, Um, you would come and speak to me then, um, some divorces take a few months, others take a bit longer particularly where they’re disputes and it really does just depend on the complexity of your case and how cooperative your ex is going to be, if the matter is a very simple divorce than a ballpark is about three months. Um, but the global pandemic means things are moving that bit slower.
[00:04:42] Carla: Yeah. No, that, that’s interesting. So Judith, if, for example, someone, um, wanted to get a divorce and they happened to meet someone fairly quickly afterwards, is it possible to get a quick divorce when needed?
[00:04:57] Judith: It is, so you can apply for what’s called a simplified divorce, which is just a form that you fill out. And thats available to you if you have been separated for a year and you have your spouses consent, or you’ve been separated for two years, and there are no children under 16, but what you don’t want to do is apply for the divorce without first resolving all of the financial and childcare matters, because that’s going to delay things and increase the cost. So, what you ought to be doing is entering into a document called a separation agreement first, before you actually applied for the divorce.
[00:05:40] Carla: Right. Okay. That’s brilliant. So how many marriages do you know this Judith? If I’m putting you on the spot here a little bit, how many marriages end in divorce in Scotland?
[00:05:51] Judith: So, um, I have had to look at the statistics. Um, and the government statistics say that for instance, in 2017, 2018, the number of divorces applied for was just under 7,000. Um, and in 2018, 2019, um, one of the other statistics, which I found was that it was about just over 7,000. So things have increased 17 from 17/18 to 18/19. But overall we’re generally seeing a fall in divorces. And I think that’s probably got something to do with, um, the new legislation, which came in in 2006 in Scotland which allowed people who were simply living together to make financial claims, um, upon separation. Um, it’s a completely different to the framework from if you’re married. But there was that that came into force in 2006. And I think people are feeling just generally less pressure to get married. Um, you know, just overall it’s more acceptable to just live together.
[00:07:08] Carla: Yeah, it is, isn’t it. I mean, a lot, a lot of parents find that, you know, they end up having children and then it might, marriage might be something that they decide that they want to do in a couple of years after. And, you know, it can be a very expensive time as well can’t it. So.
[00:07:24] Judith: It can, you know, when finances are limited. You need to have a think about where your priorities are, you know, many people will just prepare to buy a house together. Um, and, and lived together. So, you know, if you’re in that sort of situation, um, for instance, you’re, uh, purchasing of property with someone that you’re not married to, you ought to be thinking about providing for what would happen if you separate. It’s not a very romantic thing to do, but it’s a very practical and important thing you can do because you can protect, for instance, yourself if you’re contributing more of a deposit to the purchase of a property than the person you’re going to be moving in with. And so even when you’re not married, there are legal consequences in Scotland to living together. Um, and you know, I’m happy to offer you any further advice that anyone would like about that.
[00:08:26] Carla: That’s great. That that’s interesting. So, so in regards to, um, separation, should you not be married then. What, what is the process um, then I’m guessing that they’d still obviously get in contact with you in regards to separation because it’s the child, isn’t it? I mean, if you can’t come to agreements with the child, you know, who’s having the child when and where the child’s going to be living predominantly. At that point, would that be when they contact you?
[00:08:56] Judith: Yes. I mean, you can contact me at any point where, you know, you feel that you are not getting along with the other parent um, you know, I can offer guidance and support, uh, at any stage. Um, and if you know, you’re having difficulties and problems and, uh, making the arrangements for any child or children you’ve got any kids you’ve got together, then. I can offer you alternatives, to just solicitors helping. So I’m also a trained mediator, uh, and a collaborative lawyer. Um, and those are processes, which are alternatives to going to court, which would always be an option of last resort. Um, so, um, you know, I’m here to help. Absolutely. Uh, If anyone needs any advice, please do get in touch.
[00:10:00] Carla: That’s great. That’s great. So can you just finally, um, Judith, just tell us a bit more about the benefits of using a family law, solicitor, um, rather than actually getting a, do it yourself divorce.
[00:10:14] Judith: Of course absolutely. So in my experience the benefits of getting a family law solicitor really make sure that, you know, we’re aware of the law and what claims you can make, and therefore you can make more informed decisions and good choices. Um, you’re you will be supported during the process, which can be very stressful and daunting.
[00:10:41] Um, and at the moment in recognition, of the extreme and challenging experiences that people are finding themselves in. What we’re doing in Scullion Law at the moment is we’ve partnered up with some of the best coaches and therapists around, and, we offer every client, every new family law client, a free, no obligation introduction call with a coach or therapist in order to help people move forward.
[00:11:10] Carla: Yeah, that’s, that’s very, very interesting. I’m sure people are finding that, that very useful, that service.
[00:11:16] Judith: Yeah, they are the feedback’s been really good, Carla. Um, and you know, I think I, I built up this network, I’ve made with every single coach and family therapist personally. Um, and when I say personally, I mean, at the moment certainly with the pandemic remotely, but via video call. So every single one of the coaches and family therapists in our network, Um, are, are able to help people get to a place where they feel, uh, you know, they can move forward with their lives. And that’s part of the training they’ve had. There are limits to what family lawyers can do. But, um, you know, I want to support my clients in every single way possible. Uh, I make sure that good choices are being made for them, uh, and for their, their families as a whole.
[00:12:10] Carla: Definitely. Definitely. Can you Judith, can you just tell us a little bit about Scullion Law and also the other services that you can help with? Um, if that’s okay.
[00:12:20] Judith: Yes, of course. So Scullion Law was established in 1979. So. Um, we’ve been around for a, just over 14 years. Um, and we have a property department, we have a road traffic department and we have a private client department, which deals with wills, powers of attorney, uh, and executives and estates. So, um, we have all those other services and there are connections that are needed between the departments, which allow the clients to have really a, a full service, um, eh, offered to them. And, you know, we really feel that we are a law firm for life and we want to make sure our client’s experience is second to none.
[00:13:15] So, um, when people consult me in relation to their separation. Um, or, you know, they’ve been separated and they’re struggling with organising, you know, what’s to happen with their kids and who to live with. And if they’re not living with them, how often they see them. And we look at that picture for them. It’s often the case that, you know, I will recommend that they should make or renew a will, for example, Um, because it’s really important to update a will when your personal circumstances change.
[00:13:52] And so that’s certainly a service in which we offer and indeed when we’re dealing with a separation, it’s often the case that people have you know joint property. Um, so, you know, uh, we would look at the options around how to, um, deal with that property. Um, and part of the process of separating is bringing to a close, any joint financial relationships people have with one another. And so when we come to, to look at a the property side of things, we have a property department who can help with the transfer sale of any homes.
[00:14:31] Carla: Gosh. Yeah. Yeah. It’s all linked really isn’t it? It’s um, it’s all, all, all totally relevant because I suppose when you are looking at kind of splitting up or getting divorced, there’s a lot of things to think about again, um, you know, will’s, life insurance and, um, obviously the, the homes as well. Of course.
[00:14:52] Judith: Absolutely. And it can be quite overwhelming for people because there’s so much to think about and it can be a very stressful experience and, you know, we, we want it to be able to support our clients during, you know, that that decision making process that they have to go through to move forward with things, and, but you know, it really is, um, you know, something which we feel very strongly about at Scullion Law is looking after people.
[00:15:23] Carla: Yeah, absolutely. Because it’s a huge, huge change in people’s lives. So that’s been really, really interesting, um, Judith, so thank you so much for coming on and talking to us today. Can you just, um, tell people where, um, people will be able to find you, um, if that’s okay. Your website address?
[00:15:41] Judith: Yes, of course, Carla, so delighted to have been asked to come on with you today and thank you very much for having me. Um, the website is www.scullionlaw.com.
[00:15:58] Carla: Brilliant, brilliant. And Judith will be happy to help anyone that has any, any queries around any of the, um, any of the questions that we’ve discussed around today. So thank you so much again, Jude, if it was lovely talking to you.
[00:16:11] Judith: Lovely speaking to you Carla.
[00:16:13] Carla: Thank you.
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