The Portal is an idea thought of and developed by Anne Dick of Family Law Matters and Shona Templeton of MTM Family Law solicitors, all based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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Grounds for divorce (or dissolution of a civil partnership)

Most people know that divorces are granted because of the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage or civil partnership. What is less widely known is that there are only certain ways you can prove the fact that there has been an irretrievable breakdown.

Irretrievable breakdown can be proved by having lived apart. A marriage or civil partnership can be ended if there has been no cohabitation for one year and your partner consents or no cohabitation for 2 years even if there is no consent by the other person.

Irretrievable breakdown can be established on the basis of proof of the other person’s unreasonable behaviour.

A marriage can also be ended on grounds of irretrievable breakdown if you can show that your partner has committed adultery (whether before or after the separation).

A civil partnership can be dissolved if an interim gender recognition certificate has been issued to either of the civil partners.

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Simplified Procedure divorce/dissolution

If and only if

•    You have no children under 16
•    There are no financial matters to sort out
•    You have been separated for a year and
•    You both want divorce or dissolution


•    You have been separated for 2 years and there are no financial matters to sort out and
•    There are no children under 16

Then you can use the so called “quickie” procedure.

This involves getting the appropriate form from the local Sheriff Court, after you have been separated for one or 2 years. The form has quite clear instructions explaining how it should be completed. If you are seeking a one year divorce or dissolution your partner has to sign. There is also a part which you have to sign in front of someone authorised to administer Oaths, such as a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public. You don’t need to use a solicitor, although you can if you choose.

There is a Court fee to pay but if you are on a low income you might qualify under the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme in which case you would not have to pay the Court fee.

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Change of surname

If you want to go back to using your original surname you don’t need to wait until your divorce. Equally, you can go on using your married name after the divorce.

If you have children and you wish to change their names this is something which should really only be done after consultation with the other parent. It is a very big step which requires careful thought. Where appropriate, the children’s views would have to be taken into account. If you can’t agree, a Court could decide the matter as a specific issue.

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