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What do I need to do when I separate from my partner? 

Whether you are the person who has decided it is time to split up from your partner or not, separation is hard and it can be a very emotional time.  However, it is important to take some first steps when you immediately separate to protect your position in the future. 

Step 1 – decide who is going to leave the joint home. 

In most cases both of you will have occupancy rights but it can be difficult for everyone if you both choose to remain living in the joint home.


Step 2 – decide where any children of the relationship will reside. 

This is an important step.  If the children are going to predominately reside with one parent you need to carefully consider the implications of this.  The court is usually keen to preserve the status quo of a child’s life and would require a significant reason to change this. Therefore, if at a later date you do wish to change where the children are living you will need a good reason for doing this. 

Step 3 – gather as much information as possible about the financial aspects of your relationship.   

A list of all the assets and debts that both of you have will be vital in moving forward to determine what is an appropriate split of the finances.  The more information you have the more prepared you will be to make decisions on how you wish to proceed.  This step is even more important if your partner dealt with all the financial matters throughout your relationship. 

Step 4 – take some time to consider what your priorities are following the breakdown of the relationship.   

In terms of finances everyone has different priorities and you cannot assume that because you believe the joint home is the most important asset that your partner will agree, they may value pension rights as most important. 

Your priorities will reflect how you envision your future going forward. Do you need ready cash to rebuild your life or do you want to protect the investments you have made for your future. 

Step 5 – get legal advice. 

It is of the upmost importance that you take legal advice as early as you can.  This enables you to be informed about your rights and the best way to protect yourself.  Even if you are not ready to move matters forward a simply consultation with a solicitor can provide you with information and reassurance to protect your position for the time when you are ready to think about the future. 

At MacBeath Family Law we offer a one hour consultation with a follow up letter of advice for the sum of £240 (including VAT), get in touch now to discuss how we can help you through this difficult time.

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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