Divorce in Scotland: how it works, do you need a lawyer, and what are the grounds?

Fiona Rasmusen, from Gibson Kerr Family Law Solicitors, says you are not alone if divorce is on the cards on 2023

You are not alone: January is regarded as a peak month for couples to divorce. Here are some tips on coping with marriage breakdown
You are not alone: January is regarded as a peak month for couples to divorce. Here are some tips on coping with marriage breakdown

January is traditionally the month of new beginnings. Fitness plans, diets or ‘Dry January’ are all popular ways to begin the new year. However, a recent article on BBC.co.uk highlighted a new January phenomenon and described it as “Divorce month” with one Welsh law firm stating divorce enquiries in January have spiked at about 150% of the November, December and February average.

The Christmas effect

At Gibson Kerr, we also see January as a busy month for divorce and separation enquiries. Reasons for divorcing are varied and while blame can be laid on one or both partners, often there is no blame and couples have simply decided that the relationship is over. Often, the stresses of Christmas and time spent in close proximity to one another can exacerbate existing tensions and couples can also decide to try ‘one last Christmas’ together, especially if there are children involved.

This year, the cost of living crisis has added to stresses within families and led to marriage breakdowns.

What are the grounds?

Often, the first thing clients want to know from us is what are the grounds for divorce. When it comes to filing for divorce in Scotland, you need to prove that your marriage has broken down. To do this, one of the following must have occurred:

- You have been separated for one year and have consent to file for divorce

- You have been separated for two years without consent

- One partner has displayed unreasonable behaviour

- One partner has committed adultery

Feeling guilty?

Whatever the reason for divorce, we find clients often feel a lot of guilt and a sense of personal failure at the breakdown of a marriage, even if it’s a ‘no blame’ divorce. Often it’s the worry of the effect the break-up will have on their children or other family members.

As expert divorce solicitors, the Family Law team at Gibson Kerr are familiar with these feelings – and many more – that are experienced by divorcing couples. In this article, we want to share a few tips that can help you get back on track when the break up of a relationship threatens to pull you off course.

Give yourself a break

Everyone going through a marriage break-up should take it easy on themselves and ask others to do the same. There are many reasons for the end of a relationship, from serious cases of abuse or adultery to plain unhappiness or growing apart. But whatever the reason for the breakup, blaming yourself or others is not helpful and you should focus on how you deal with things from here on in. It’s beneficial to focus on creating as amicable a divorce or separation as possible in your circumstances, especially if children are involved.

Be ready for change

One of the biggest shocks to people who are going through a divorce is the number of changes they need to make to their lives. Whether it is where you live, arrangements for children, your financial circumstances or even your social circle, you should prepare yourself for major changes. Try to think of these as positive and part of the process of moving on and lean on trusted friends and family to help you get used to your new normal.

Take advice

Whatever your personal circumstances and no matter how isolated you may feel, there will be plenty of others who have been through the same and if you can talk to friends, family or colleagues who have experienced divorce, you will feel less alone and will likely gain some valuable advice.

Talking to an expert divorce solicitor can really help too. In our roles, we have been through almost every scenario and can offer you expert and unbiased advice and support to make sure you get the results you want.

If you want to discuss any aspect of a separation or divorce, the expert and friendly Family Law solicitors at Gibson Kerr are here to help. Get in touch for a no-obligation chat and find out how we can help you navigate the legal process and set you on the right track for your new future.

Contact our Family Law partner Fiona Rasmusen by calling 0131 226 9161 or by email [email protected] for a confidential, no-obligation chat.