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7 common myths about separation and divorce in Scotland busted

Taking advice when you are separating is a great idea, unfortunately the wealth of “advice” which can come from family and friends can be confusing and is sometimes simply wrong.  Below we discuss 7 common myths about getting divorced in Scotland and give you the truth.


I can change the locks

Whilst there may be a knee jerk reaction to throw a spouse’s belongings out on the street and change the locks so they cannot get into the matrimonial home you should not do this.

If you have lived together in the property as husband and wife, you will both have occupancy rights.  It doesn’t matter if the title to the property or the lease is only in one name.   Neither party can simply decide that the other person cannot stay there anymore.

If you want to remove the occupancy rights of your spouse, you need to apply to the court for an exclusion order.


If I move out of the matrimonial home, I will be giving up my rights to it

This is simply not true.  You continue to have rights in relation to occupancy and can move back at any point as long as you are not subject to an exclusion order issued by the court or bail conditions.


If I have had an affair I will get less of the matrimonial property

Again, this is simply not true.  In Scotland there is a no fault principle in divorce.  This means that the personal conduct of a party is not taken into account when the division of matrimonial assets is undertaken, accordingly a party will not be penalised for committing adultery.


I am not responsible for their debts

It is commonly believed that debts which are the name of your spouse do not affect you.  This is not true, when getting divorced all debts accrued by either spouse, in joint or individual names during the marriage will be taken into account when the matrimonial pot is divided up.


My savings are my own

Savings are treated similarly to debts as above so even if you have savings in your own name, it is likely that these (or a portion of them) will form matrimonial property and will require to be divided fairly between you in the divorce settlement.


They say their pension is not worth much

People are often concerned that establishing the value of their or their spouse’s pension is not worth the hassle but 9 times out of 10 it definitely is.  Pensions can be worth thousands of pounds and are sometimes the most valuable asset in a divorce action. You should always obtain a valuation of the pensions involved so you can make an informed decision about your financial settlement.  Do not simply accept your spouse’s word about the value of the pension.


I should divorce now and sort out the financial matters later

Once decree of divorce is granted it is almost impossible to reconsider the financial settlement.  Accordingly, you should not proceed with divorce until all financial matters are resolved.


As always, the purpose of this blog is to provide an overview of the position in Scotland and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  You should always obtain specialist legal advice about your own circumstances.  Please call 0131 5818 652 or email to arrange an appointment.  

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