Divorce law in Scotland
The information given in this website explains many of the issues of family law in England and Wales. Scottish law is set out in the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976. This law is very different to the law in England and Wales and you should consult a solicitor who is qualified in this area.

For details of Scottish divorce solicitors please see our recommendations at Scottish divorce solicitors

or email us at

Relationships Scotland
Relationships Scotland is a new Scottish Charity created by the merger between Relate Scotland (previously Couple Counselling Scotland) and Family Mediation Scotland. Our vision is for:

‘Accessible and appropriately resourced family and relationship support services in every community in Scotland as a right not a privilege.’

As well as Relationship Counselling and Family Mediation, Relationships Scotland supports a variety of other family support services: Child Contact Centres, Groups for adults and Groups for children.

We offer relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact centres and other forms of family support across mainland and island Scotland. 

See their website for a full list of our services across Scotland or

phone 0845 119 2020

Watch a video about Parenting apart group.

Download the latest edition of Connect, Relationships Scotland's quarterly magazine, with articles, interviews and more. Click here...

Check out their website at Relationships Scotland

Click on Scotland divorce/separation for articles about ending a marriage or a cohabitation in Scotland. There's lots of other information too, changing your name is one example.

The Scottish Child Law Centre
SCLC has information for children under the age of 18. To read about how the law affects your child, have a look at our Teenagers section.

Legal aid
The legal aid scheme in Scotland is run by the Scottish Legal Aid Board and is separate to the English scheme.
Write to:
The Scottish Legal Aid Board
44 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh EH3 7SW
Tel : 0131 220 4878

One Parent Families Scotland provides excellent resources, advice and support. This is free to join. Their website at is a good place to start if you are contemplating divorce or have had this decision made for you.
Their freephone helpline is 0808 801 0323
Lone Parent Rights Guide includes information on the new benefits rates for lone parents who are working/not working; maternity rights; childcare; parental rights and responsibilities; legal issues; housing; Tax Credits and the New Deal for Lone Parents.

We have factsheets on many subjects to help you including Holiday companies and Holiday Trust Funds that can assist with the cost of a holiday. Just get in touch to see what we can currently offer you.
Call 0808 801 0323 or email:

Family support in Lanarkshire
Family Support Partnership Lanarkshire is a strategic partnership between Family Mediation South Lanarkshire, Relate Lanarkshire and Scottish Marriage Care.
Their website contains a wealth of information on the services they offer in Lanarkshire as well as practical advice on relationships, sexual problems and managing your separation or divorce if you have children.
Find out more now at

The Child support agency
The Child support agency (CSA) covers Scotland, England and Wales.
The CSA does not cover the Channel Islands nor the Isle of Man.
If you have an initial assessment for child maintenance made before 3rd March 2003 then please visit their site situated on the left of the site at

If you are looking for information on the new child support scheme then please visit the site pictured its right. You can also read our article in the Financial section.

Stepfamily Scotland
Their prime service is the confidential Helpline which provides support and information for any member of a stepfamily or those working with them. The helpline is now available on a lo-call number: 0845 122 8655. Calls to the Helpline from any UK landline will be charged at local rates. Mobile rates may vary. They offer a wide range of information, training and publications.

Council websites
Your local website can often offer excellent information on housing and benefits and many other topics. If you are in Glasgow, please see

Simplified Divorce procedure via Divorce Law Scotland
You can only proceed with a divorce action under the simplified divorce procedure if:

You or your spouse have been resident within Scotland for at least 12 months and there are no children from the marriage (or children accepted into the family) who are under 16 years of age and all financial matters have been agreed

AND one of the following applies:

  1. You have been separated from your spouse for a continuous period of 1 year or more and your spouse will consent to divorce proceedings

  2. OR

  3. You have been separated for 2 years (no consent required).

Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006
Heralds Changes for Cohabiting Couples - Stephen Brand reports

The new Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 came into force on the 4 May 2006 and, as expected, has changed the mechanics of getting divorced through adultery, unreasonable behaviour, living apart for a period of one year with your spouse's consent and living apart from your spouse for two years without consent.

One of the more radical changes, however, and which has not had quite the same publicity, is the rights of those people who live together either as husband and wife or as civil partners and then break up.

In such circumstances, there is now a possibility of a claim for a capital sum at the end of their relationship and there is also a presumption of a share in the ownership of household goods bought whilst they were together. If a cohabitant dies, without leaving a Will, then the court can make an award to their partner out of the deceased's estate.

We shall have to see how these new rules will apply in practice, and it is anticipated that it may take a long period of time before cases work through the system and we begin to get a feel for what the courts might do in particular sets of circumstances.

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