Simplified Divorce Procedure in Scotland

There are 2 types of divorce procedures in Scotland, the ‘Ordinary’ procedure and the ‘Simplified’ procedure. In this blog I look at the latter; when it can be used and the process generally.

The Simplified Divorce Procedure can be used:

  • where any financial matters between the couple have been resolved fully;
  • where there are no children of the marriage who are under the age of 16 years;
  • where the married couple have been separated for longer than year (and the other party consents to the Divorce) or 2 years (where consent is not necessary) and;
  • where neither party is not able to manage their affairs because of mental illness, personality disorder or learning disability.

The action is started by the person instigating the Divorce (the ‘applicant’) completing a pro forma provided by the Scottish Courts Service. This document includes the names and addresses of both parties and the date of marriage and of separation.

If parties have been separated for one year, there is then an additional step where the partially completed document is sent to the other party to sign and return, confirming they consent to the Divorce.

The completed form is then signed by the applicant, on Oath, confirming that the information is true to the best of their knowledge and belief.

The completed form is then sent to the Sheriff Court, along with the parties’ Marriage Certificate (which can be obtained from the Registers Office if required, for a small cost). The Court then arranges to send the document to the other spouse. They have 21 days to tell the Court if they want to oppose the action. If they don’t, the Court will be able to grant the Divorce after that period has expired. If the Divorce is opposed, the action will be dismissed as a Simplified Divorce action cannot progress if it is opposed.

As always, getting good advice is essential.  The Drummond Miller family law team is extremely experienced in dealing with all aspects of family law including separation, divorce, and child-related matters. If you would like any further information or advice, please get in touch with our experienced solicitors in Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Musselburgh or Bathgate.