The beginning of a New Year can often be an opportunity for couples to reflect on their relationship and consider how the future looks for them. This period of reflection may lead to a decision to end their relationship whether it is a marriage, civil partnership, or a cohabitation. January is often a month when we see a rise in enquiries from people who want to know what separation might mean for them.
If you are considering divorce or separation, at any time of the year, here are five fundamental questions you should ask yourself:
- Can I divorce?
In Scotland, the Court must be satisfied that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, with no prospect of reconciliation. Have you considered other options, short of divorce, before proceeding. If you have, then you can look at whether you have the necessary facts available to show the court how your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
- Am I ready to divorce?
Even if you feel your divorce is going to be amicable, the process of a divorce itself and the fact that you are dealing with a relationship breakdown is often stressful and can take its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. It is helpful to establish a strong support network around you to maintain your resilience throughout the process.
- What about the children?
Have you considered the timing of the separation/divorce on the children? Part of the process of divorce will be to consider the arrangements that will need to be put in place for children under the age of 16 when parents separate. This may involve taking the views of the children on those arrangements if appropriate. Whilst there is never a good time, there may be particular times you would like to avoid, for example approaching school exams.
- What do I know about the family finances?
The more information that you have about the family finances – assets, liabilities, income and outgoings – the better prepared you will be for sorting these matters going forward. It will also give you an insight into your likely financial position post-divorce and if this will be comfortable for you. Is there enough money to support two households? Will there be enough money to support the children the way you would like them to be supported? How am I going to pay for my divorce?
- How do I get a Divorce?
Divorce and Dissolution of a Civil partnership require making an application to the Court. Financial claims on the breakdown of a cohabiting relationship can also mean making an application to the court within a very short period after separation. Before making any decision about next steps and applying to the Court it is important to speak to a specialist family law solicitor. The solicitor will provide guidance on the Court process and the law in relation to financial provision and any children on separation.
At Gillespie Macandrew we provide a fixed fee first meeting with a family law solicitor to help you consider your options on separation and guide you through this difficult process. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised further, please get in touch with a member of our family law team.