To get a divorce in Scotland a couple must comply with residence rules which are usually met if one or both of them have their usual home in Scotland.
There are two grounds for divorce and the court will grant a divorce if one of these two grounds is proved. The grounds are either that the marriage has irretrievably broken down or that an interim gender recognition certificate has been issued to either spouse. The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can be established by any of the following circumstances: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, separation for one year with consent or separation for two years. An interim gender recognition certificate is issued to a transsexual person who wishes to obtain legal recognition of her/his acquired gender.
For more information about gender recognition, see the Advice Guide FAQ about gender recognition.
Do-it-yourself divorce is a simplified procedure which can be used if certain conditions are met (such as no dependent children and no jointly owned property). A solicitor is not usually needed. When the conditions for a do-it-yourself divorce are not met you will have to use the ordinary divorce procedure and seek assistance from a solicitor. If both partners agree to the divorce, it proceeds as an undefended divorce. The applicant and any witnesses will submit statements to the court via the solicitor and may not need to attend court.
Where there is disagreement about the grounds for the divorce, or the arrangements for the children or money, the divorce proceeds as a defended divorce and it is advisable to use a solicitor.
The costs of a divorce can vary depending on the amount of work that solicitors have to do. Legal aid can be available for people who are eligible.