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How do I get divorced in Scotland?

How do I get divorced in Scotland?

We are often asked the question - how do I get divorced in Scotland? In order to obtain a divorce you must raise an action in a Court which has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction normally means that you raise the action in the Court nearest to you. Before contemplating where to raise an action you must determine whether you can raise a divorce action or not. In order to raise a divorce action, you must have the legal ground to do so. In Scotland there is one ground of divorce and four methods of establishing it. The only ground of divorce in Scotland is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

In order to establish this, you must satisfy one of these conditions:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Separation for one year with consent of the other spouse
  4. Separation for two years without consent

If you do not have sufficient evidence to establish irretrievable breakdown of your marriage then you cannot get divorced. However, this does not mean that you cannot negotiate with your spouse to settle any financial claims or arrangements for contact and residence of the children of the marriage. If you are able to do this then negotiations should take place with a view to a Separation Agreement or Minute of Agreement being prepared. 

You do not always have to raise a Court action to obtain a divorce.? There is what is known as 'the quickie divorce'. This is the simplified procedure. This entails the completion of an application form (which can be found at The application is fairly straightforward but there are technical questions which may require legal advice. However, in order to use this application form there must be no children of the marriage under the age of 16 and no financial claims to be dealt with. Even if the children of the marriage are over 16 but there are financial matters to be resolved then the simplified procedure cannot be used. You do not require a solicitor for the simplified procedure although you will need one to notarise the Affidavit on the application form.

Before you consider raising a divorce action or completing a Simplified Divorce application, you should ensure that you are fully aware of your legal rights in relation to the breakdown of your marriage. If you require any further information, please contact us. Our divorce lawyers at our Edinburgh or Glasgow offices will be able to give you further information. 

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Written by : Lynne Collingham