When a relationship sours, it’s easy to quickly jump into divorce proceedings without stopping to think. Tensions are high and many people don’t take much time to contemplate the complexities of the divorce process – they just want to terminate their union.
Always talk to a relationship expert or Scottish family law practitioner before you make any decision about whether to go down the divorce route. This way you’ll be sure you’re making the right, rational decision.
Know Your Reasons
Scottish law allows a divorce to be actioned on one of four grounds: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, one year’s separation with consent or two year’s separation without consent.
A simplified divorce application can be made at the Sheriff Court under the latter two grounds – but only if there are no money issues between the parties and no children under the age of 16.
Check with your Scottish family law solicitor to ensure that your reasons for seeking a divorce are legally acceptable and what the best plan of action is.
Accept both parties could be worse off
Some partners try to “get one over” their spouse when it comes to their divorce settlement – especially if they believe their partner was the one responsible for the break up. Others feel they deserve a larger slice of their accumulated assets and this can lead to tension between the parties during divorce proceedings.
However, separating couples need to realise that divorce is an expensive process – and neither of them will be a financial winner once the divorce is complete.
Be ready to compromise
One of the most common reasons for divorce proceedings to drag on is when couples are unwilling to compromise when it comes to splitting their possessions, property or money.
Enter into negotiations with a clear head and be ready to accept some give and take over who gets what – and the whole process will be much smoother. By compromising, you can cut out a lot of unpleasant mud-slinging and emotional manipulation from your divorce.
Be prepared to do the spadework You will probably need to get everything valued at the date of your separation – including your house, cars, bank accounts, pensions and investments. It is much cheaper if you do this yourself rather than getting your solicitor to do it for you, although a good Scottish family law expert will be able to provide advice if you need it.
It’s also vitally important to keep all documents and correspondence regarding the divorce – including bills and mortgage statements – in a safe, orderly file.
If you lose any of these documents, you may have to pay for replacement copies – which will add to your costs.
Don’t use the kids as pawns
Divorce is a highly-charged and emotional process and, unfortunately, many couples with children are tempted to use this to their advantage. In particularly vengeful cases, they will even try to use their children to score emotional points against their spouse – often trying to gain full custody of the children while trying to limit the visiting rights that their partner receives.
Remember that the only victims in these cases are the children themselves, and try to find a solution that provides the best result for them – not you.
Don’t be a ‘bitter twitter’
Partners who see themselves as being wronged by their spouse may be tempted to vent their frustration on social network platforms such as facebook or twitter. This is especially true if the marriage has broken down because their spouse has had an affair or has found a new partner.
However, such behaviour can be counter-productive and actually lead to more tension between couples – as each tries to outscore each other.
Check your future budget
After divorcing, many couples find that they have to stretch their joint finances to cover the cost of two separate homes. Remember that most people will probably be poorer after their divorce than they were before it – as they’re going down to a single income household – so it’s important to look at some future budgeting.
Work out your current cost of living expenditure and compare it to your projected single salary. What sacrifices can you make to keep you in the black? If you’re getting custody of your children, are you entitled to any benefits, tax credits or reductions that can help keep your costs down?
If you’re in debt – or are worried about getting into debt after your divorce – call a local advice agency who can advise you on how to manage your finances better.
Change your will After you have decided on getting a divorce you should immediately make a will, or change your existing one. Remember that if you die without making a will before the divorce is finalised, your partner may be entitled to a large part of your estate, which may not be what you want to happen. If you have children, you will also need to think about providing for them in your will – as well as deciding who would get custody of any children under 18 if you die.Talk to your family law solicitor about how to make or amend your will. The long haul Remember that divorce proceedings are not a quick fix. It can take many months or even years after the papers are filed at court before the divorce is completed – and it will be longer if there are disputes over money or children. Be prepared to deal with the emotional and financial implications of such a long legal process, rather than an immediate remedy to your problems