Separation & Divorce
When you split up with your spouse, you only get one chance at sorting out the finances. Make sure you’re properly informed before you go any further - receive advice from a separation & divorce solicitor.
The Long of it
Separation and divorce
What do I need to think about if I am separating from or divorcing my partner?
Splitting up with your spouse is not just an emotional blow – it also has financial implications.
For example, if you own your home together, it’s unlikely you will want that to continue after the separation, so you’ll need to decide whether to sell or buy the other person out.
However, sorting out the immediate practicalities is not the whole story. Marriage is a financial as well as an emotional commitment, and most couples combine their finances at least to some extent. Many people also make trade-offs that have financial implications as married life unfolds, like agreeing that one of you will give up work for a time to look after children, or using an inheritance to pay down the mortgage.
So, while the obvious thing might be to simply divide everything 50:50, that may not result in a fair outcome overall when all the circumstances are taken into account. One of you might be entitled to receive more than half of the value of the total assets, and/or to make an additional financial claim. This is all set out in a detailed legal framework for achieving a ‘clean break’ financially in a way that’s fair to both of you.
The specifics will be different for every couple, but there are key principles that need to be applied in every case. We will explain how the law applies to your situation, discuss what a fair arrangement might look like, and advise on how to achieve it.
If you and your spouse don’t agree on a financial settlement, we can negotiate with them or their solicitor on your behalf. If you need to ask the court to resolve things, we can handle this for you. Even if you agree what should be done, it’s important to sit down with an expert to go through the deal before you sign anything.
We won’t pressure you to take any particular option – we just want to make sure that you know what your options are. It’s worth taking advice because you only get one shot at sorting out finances on divorce, and the arrangements you make can affect your financial future for years to come.
Want a divorce?
Here’s what you need to know
If you’ve separated from your partner, you may have already sorted out the important stuff, like the kids, your house, and your pensions. It’s important to note that if you’ve been separated for more than two years, your spouse doesn’t need to agree to the divorce or sign anything to make it happen.
However, there is a specific legal procedure involved if you want to apply for a divorce. It may seem like an unpleasant task but finalising the paperwork will allow you both to move on with your lives. Applying for a divorce is especially important if either of you plan on remarrying in the future.
The first step in the process is for your solicitor to prepare the divorce application and send it to the court. The court will then order the application to be sent to your spouse.
In most cases, people can be divorced in 2-3 months simply by their solicitor sending paperwork to the court, and there’s no need to give evidence in front of the judge. However, if you have kids who are still under sixteen, you will need to raise a Sheriff Court action for divorce.
Divorce applications need to include written statements, called affidavits, and having a specialist family law solicitor who understands these requirements and can help to guide you through the process.
At Watermans, our family law solicitors are experts in their field, and come from a range of different backgrounds with their own life experiences to draw on. Every situation is different, and our separation and divorce solicitors work in partnership with you to resolve things in a straightforward, cost-effective manner.
Your first meeting with us
What can I expect from my first meeting with Watermans?
It’s normal to be a bit nervous before your first meeting with a family lawyer – and even if you feel confident, it doesn’t do any harm to know what to expect.
The process starts when you first get in touch. We can normally offer a fixed fee for an initial consultation with one of our specialist family lawyers, payable on the day of the meeting. We will agree this fee with you before we go any further. We will also need to check we haven’t acted for anyone else involved in the dispute (they won’t know we have done this).
If that’s all OK, we will then send you a link to a secure online verification system to carry out some compliance checks required by law. We will also ask you to fill out a short questionnaire collecting basic information such as the dates of marriage and separation. This saves time during our meeting and means we can get straight to the point.
If you’re being taken to court, we’ll usually ask you to scan the court papers over to us in advance. You may have received a solicitors’ letter and if so, it helps if we can see this beforehand too.
It’s a good idea to think through beforehand what questions you have and what you want to achieve from the meeting. For example, if you are separating, do you have any thoughts about how you’d like to resolve issues about your children or the house? What would a good outcome look like to you? What are your priorities? It’s OK if you don’t have answers yet, but it’s worth starting to reflect on this.
The meeting itself will be over secure video link or in person, with one of our specialist family lawyers. It’s unlikely we can resolve everything in a single session, but our goal is for you to come away knowing how the law applies to your situation, the options for sorting things out, and roughly what that might cost in legal fees. You can then make informed decisions about what to do next.
Please do not worry about getting emotional or not knowing exactly what to say. Family disputes are very personal, and many people find it upsetting to talk about them. We understand and we won’t judge. And just to be clear, everything you tell us is completely confidential.
What happens after the meeting is up to you. We won’t take any action in your case or contact anyone else involved unless you tell us to do so.
If you have any questions about consulting a family lawyer or want to discuss a first meeting, please get in touch.
Why should I choose Watermans for my divorce proceedings?
We’re experts in family law and we know our stuff – but we’re also normal people you can have a real conversation with. We don’t use legal jargon (or Latin), we give straightforward advice, and we won’t judge or patronise you. Coming from a range of backgrounds and with our own life experiences to draw on, we understand and empathise with how stressful family disputes can be. We know how important it is to trust your lawyer and that you need to know we’re in your corner. Our aim is to work in partnership with you to help resolve things quickly and cost-effectively so you can move forward with your life.
How much does it cost?
How much are the legal costs for a divorce?
In general, your legal costs will depend on how complicated your case is, whether you need to go to court, and what the other person involved (and their lawyer) does. However, if your case meets certain criteria, and all financial and child-related disputes have been resolved, we are usually able to offer a fixed fee covering all the work involved in applying for the divorce itself. If you prefer, this can be paid in instalments to help you budget and spread the cost.
If we can’t offer this, we will usually be able to give you an estimate for the cost of the divorce procedure. We’ll invoice you regularly and say exactly what we’re charging for. We can refer our bills to an independent auditor if you have any concerns.
Get in touch with us
Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055
Our Family Law expert
“People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”
Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law