Separation and Divorce
Christmas and New Year is about appreciating those who bring us joy and happiness throughout the year. However, sometimes it is when we realise our relationships are not as strong as they once were and have broken down or are ending. Should you be in such a relationship and require advice on your legal rights and remedies, please contact our Family Lawyers, Tony Anderson (01334 654081) or Bridget McGuire (01592 759414).
If your relationship has broken down and there is no prospect of a reconciliation it is important to know your rights and remedies.
Our goal would be to negotiate with your partner and regulate matters into a Separation Agreement which once signed would serve as a legally binding contract and normally survive Divorce or Dissolution.
It is important to establish the actual date of separation because all assets and liabilities having accrued fall to be valued then.
Assets would include heritable property, savings, pensions, shareholdings and business interests.
Liabilities would be debts such as loans, mortgages, credit cards etc.
Ideally after full disclosure of assets and liabilities Scots Law will divide them between the separating couple fairly taking into account their circumstances. Arrangements for children can also be formulated into the Agreement.
Contact or Residence of Children
More often than not a separated couple will make their own arrangement over where a child should reside and how frequently the child should have contact with the non resident parent. However, sometimes agreement is not forthcoming and our goal would be initially to negotiate towards an agreement outwith the Court Forum. The archaic references to "custody" and "access" are now obsolete as they suggest ownership of a child. Where both parents have parental rights and responsibilities they are equally important in promoting a child's welfare. A Court will only intervene if it is better for the child to make an order for contact or residence than not. Sometimes a child's own views will be considered if he or she has sufficient maturity and understanding. The overriding principle is always the welfare and best interests of the child.
There are currently four grounds of divorce:
- Unreasonable Behaviour
- Non Co-habitation in excess of one year
- Non Co-habitation in excess of two years
Many people still contact us under the misconception that the “guilty” party in the marriage should receive lesser entitlement and share of the assets. It is important to know from the outset that one’s conduct in the marriage rarely has impact on the financial division and sharing of assets. A cost of divorce proceedings depends on the financial orders sought and whether there are children under sixteen years.
Personal Aliment (Maintenance)
The Court no longer has jurisdiction to determine any sum a non resident parent living in the UK should pay for the financial support of his or her child. Instead this issue is regulated by the Child Support Agency with a new regime change about to take effect next year.
The Court does still have jurisdiction to preside over personal aliment claims between the estranged couple and we can assist in assessing a claim taking into account your income and outlays and those of your former partner.