Tag Archives: Scottish law

Inexpensive and easy Scottish separation agreements. Can it be done? Help needed.


Bruce de Wert

Bruce de Wert

Let us say that you have “separated” and everything is going swimmingly. You have, informally, agreed any current issues. Why on earth would you want to rock the boat? What is the point in making a formal agreement?

I feel like a party-pooper when I pose these questions….

  • Who is to say that whatever informal agreements that you have made will last?
  • Even if they did, what would happen if you were to die prematurely?
  • Where do kids fit in?
  • What if you want a divorce?
  • What about the future?
  • It is expensive to see a lawyer but will it cost you more not to see a lawyer?

You are where you are and it is not easy. The current way out is for both parties to see separate lawyers. This is time consuming, emotionally draining and, with two lawyers involved, usually, expensive.

It is not that the lawyers cause this but the very step of seeing separate lawyers focuses on the conflicts where there may well be a great deal of common ground.

I have an idea whereby the parties could, with some legal guidance, set out their common ground in a draft separation agreement. This would leave only those areas where there is real disagreement to be dealt with by lawyers. That would save money and stress.

In certain cases you could end up with a whole agreement although, as a lawyer, I would feel uneasy about it not being checked over for the stuff the things you may have forgotten about or are yet to crop up.

It is my goal to make something complex both easy and inexpensive, just as with MyScottishDivorce, MyScottishWill and MyScottishAttorney.

It can be done but I need a little help.

In the comments box, below, please let me have your thoughts about but not limited to:-

  • Would it help you?
  • Have you been through this process? How would this have made it easier?
  • What would make it easy?
  • What would you want from such a system?
  • What would it look like?
  • What would it cost?
  • Would you consider an agreement that was based upon legal principles that had not been checked, by lawyers, for your particular circumstances.

I shall be very grateful to all contributors and I look forward to the discussion.

Bruce de Wert


Are wills made outside Scotland valid in Scotland?

Bruce de Wert

Bruce de Wert

Wow!  That is a difficult question.  The answer is that it depends!

You know, sometimes things are just complicated. This is one of those occasions.

It depends upon: –

Where the will was made.

When the will was made.

What the circumstances of the will maker were, when the will was made.

What the present intentions of the will maker are, at the moment or, if dead, his or her intentions at the date of death.

If you look at my posts, you will see that, generally, I try to give a cogent answer to the question but this one is far too complicated.

The consequences of getting it wrong are too huge to contemplate trying to guide  you.

This is one occasion where I advise you to obtain legal advice on your particular circumstances or the particular circumstances of the Will maker, before  making decisions based on the Will.

Sorry about that!

Bruce de Wert


As well as my online Wills service at www.myscottishwill.co.uk, I am private practice  in Wick  (01955 606060) in the north of Scotland and in Duns  01361 883222 in the south of Scotland.  As well as standard physical appointments, I can take telephone or Skype appointments. Please phone for an appointment.





Claims after divorce in Scotland

Bruce de Wert cropped.and websize. with border

I have been asked by a lady whether she will have a claim on her ex-husband’s pension, after his death.

The circumstances were that she separated and there was no separation agreement. They subsequently divorced. There was a house which was jointly owned but her then husband was contributing towards the mortgage but she, subsequently, bought him out of that, after the divorce.

Her ex-husband has died and she wonders whether she would have a claim on the pension.

In Scotland, at least, the answer is a resounding no!

This question reveals 2 important issues about separation and divorce.

The first is that divorce is final. If you want to make a claim, negotiate a separation agreement (the cheapest method) or enter into a separation or divorce action. After the divorce, it is too late. I have had some who were desperate to remarry and I’ve had my work cut out persuading them that disclosing that will put them in a very weak position. Don’t be tempted!

The second is that some things survive a divorce. In this particular case, the pair owned a house together. That ownership is entirely separate from any issues of marriage. An old favourite were endowment policies which were also jointly owned assets. So, be careful that you do not leave any stone unturned when you are organising a separation agreement!

Bruce de Wert

If you have children under 16, I offer a swift and inexpensive divorce at  www.MyScottishDivorce.co.uk

Why is a Scottish separation agreement a good thing.

bruceI have just been asked by a chap whether a letter from a solicitor inviting him to enter into negotiations for a separation agreement should be ignored as he wishes to use my online divorce service to save money.

My answer has been that the opportunity to negotiate a separation agreement is to be grasped with both hands!

If the marriage is over, you have 2 options, negotiate or be sued.

If my correspondent has a very deep pocket then he might take the option of being sued but it could be an expensive one. Negotiation will, virtually always, be cheaper. I am not saying it will be cheap but, as soon as court action is initiated, it has a momentum all of it’s own and will eat up your funds.

Even worse for the chap concerned, his wife has legal aid. If he has any kind of earned income at all, he will not get legal aid and the whole costs of the process will fall on him with no chance of recovering anything even if he is “successful”.

As regards his wish to use my online service, it is designed to save money and time but only works after everything has been agreed with regard to money and children.

Anyone in this position should find a specialist solicitor and there is an easy way to locate one in Scotland using the Law Society of Scotland Find a Solicitor Service. Click the drop-down list to “find a solicitor by specialism” and then put in your own postcode. The Specialism that you are looking for is “family law”. This will bring up a list of solicitors who are recognised as being specialists.

Once everything is agreed, whether you have kids or not, I can offer a service.

The main service for those with children under 16 is at www.myscottishdivorce.co.uk

For those with no children under 16  it can be found at http://www.myscottishdivorce.co.uk/nochildrenunder16.php

Bruce de Wert

Married abroad? Want a divorce in Scotland?

I have been asked a number of times whether it is possible to divorce in Scotland, having been married abroad.

Take for instance this real life question: –

I got married in Newfoundland, Canada and have been legally seperated from my husband since 1999. I now live in Scotland! Can I get a divorce here without having to contact him? I don’t want money and our child is 22! Can you do the paperwork and if so at what cost? I don’t know where he lives anymore!

The answer depends upon whether you now live in Scotland, how long you have lived here and, sometimes, whether you intend to remain in Scotland for the rest of your life.

So, if you have lived here, permanently, for one year or you have lived here for 6 months and intend to remain here for the rest of your life, you can raise your action here.

This last question is a question of “domicile”.

The issue of the whereabouts of the husband not being known is dealt with by the courts and it is to be hoped that he should find out.

It is perfectly possible for the questioner to raise the action herself but for those who do not want to do that, I offer a fixed price service (including court fees) for £495 including VAT at http://www.myscottishdivorce.co.uk/nochildrenunder16.php

The only caveat is that if the husband does find out and wants to defend it (he may want some money even if she does not), no divorce can be granted until that issue is dealt with so, sadly, my fixed-price offer ends at that point! Of course, the “legal separation” to which she refers may cover that point.


Bruce de Wert




Divorced but still owning a house together?

Bruce de WertIt is often the case that a husband and wife divorce but still end up owning a property together.

Often one party will have met and want to marry another so the pressure is on for the divorce before proper arrangements have been made or, in other cases, a separation agreement will have been made that will have set down the arrangements for the sale of the house, in due course.

Either way, the “ex” may not want to sell the house and I am often asked how this situation is dealt with.

If there is no written agreement and attempts at persuasion fail, there is a court action available called “division and sale”. This action asks the court to divide the property into 2 parts and, if this is not possible (as in most cases of normal family homes, as opposed to farms and estates, etc.) then the court will order the sale of the property.

If there is a written agreement that allows for immediate sale and the “ex” will not, then the action may well be for “specific implement” where the court is asked to enforce the agreement. At that point, pray that it has been well written!

If the “ex” will not sign the papers after a successful sale, the court Clerk will be authorised to do so.

Of course, if you are in negative equity, then that is a different story….

Bruce de Wert


I offer a quickie and private divorce for those with children under 16 at www.myscottishdivorce.co.uk

The writing of a blog does not imply a Solicitor/client relationship.


Separation agreements and transfer of title

property separationI have been asked: — “My husband and I are seperating but still living in the same house at the moment. He would like to buy a property close by but needs his share of the equity in our house to achieve this. I will remortage, which is agreed, to do this. We are both on the title deeds of the house and I am getting conflicting information from a few solicitors and he is getting different advice again! At present all we would like to do is transfer the house deeds into my name and he legally accepts an amount for the house to become mine with no claim against it.

I have been told that we need a legal seperation agreement to achieve this and that my husband cannot remain in the house.

Surely this can be achieved in an amicable way. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks”

The first thing to understand about this is that you own this property together completely distinctly from your marital relationship. As far as the law is concerned you are just two strangers who happen to own a property together.

Accordingly, you can transfer this property without a separation agreement. The confusion surrounding the advice that you are receiving is that, whilst such a transfer is entirely possible, it is not advisable.

Normally, the house represents a substantial part of any couple’s wealth. As a result, it is often to be found that the capital value of the house is not equally divided. For instance, if the husband has a valuable pension and the wife no pension, you may find the wife will have the house transferred to her and the husband keeps the pension.

The solicitors are concerned that the house should be dealt with as part of the separation deal because they fear that you buy him out, he spends the money and then, when the time comes to divvy up the rest of the matrimonial property, he has nothing left and you are disappointed!

If your situation is that if there is nothing else to be divided, then there is no reason to delay. The solicitors are right. The husband will have to leave because since you are still married, as soon as you become the sole owner, your husband requires rights under the Matrimonial Homes legislation. You will not be able to put him out!

There may be a way round that whereby he gives up those rights but you will need very good legal advice on that before you go down that road. Much better that he should leave.

There is further comment at http://www.myscottishlawblog.co.uk/2012/01/08/separation-and-divorce-in-scotland-can-i-be-separated-and-still-live-in-the-same-house/

Bruce de Wert, Solicitor

I offer a hassle-free divorce service to those who have children under the age of 16 and have agreed everything. More information at www.MyScottishDivorce.co.uk

Disclaimer: A blog is not legal advice. You should check your personal circumstances with a solicitor as small details can make a difference!

UK high on family breakdown/divorce table

I have just read this BBC headline.


I may be involved in ending marriages but that is not to say that I like it. I do my professional duty to the best of my ability but I am always conscious of the effect on children and seek to promote agreement regarding child care rather than conflict.

Children thrive in stable families and marriage is shown to produce the most stable relationships.

It does not always work out but this article is right in saying that the Government has no strategy. This is due to the persuasive argument that only the individuals concerned should be involved.

Unfortunately, the individual decisions of millions of citizens can have a significant effect on society, not least in the amount of cash that taxpayers have to pay to support one parent families.

There is no correct answer but a child-centric policy of promoting marriage and making breakup more difficult is part but, by no means all, of the answer.

The solution is, mainly, in changing cultural attitudes. Life is not easy and getting your cues for reacting to the significant difficulties that are thrown in your path from Eastenders is not appropriate. Most difficulties can be overcome by thinking of others rather than yourself and the first to be thought about are the children.

Bruce de Wert


www.myscottishdivorce.co.uk and www.georgesons.co.uk



Can I disinherit my children in Scotland?

The answer to that is “almost”.

If you make no will then your children will inherit something subject to my comments in an earlier blog. When I talk about children, I am talking about any children that you may have had by any relationship and any adopted children.

Can I represent myself in my divorce in Scotland – doing a Tommy Sheridan

Some bloggers have complained to me that the cost of divorce is too high and have asked me if they can represent themselves.

Of course, you can dismiss your solicitor and represent yourself. This is in the same way that when I pick up a hammer to put a picture on the wall, my wife refuses to let me do it, commenting that she prefers a “real man” who can do the job without destroying the house!

Powered by WordPress