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We recognise that the breakdown of a relationship is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through.  When things go wrong, it can be difficult to focus on the practical issues arising from the separation.  Our aim is to provide you with practical and sensitive advice in relation to all aspects of the separation from financial matters through to childcare issues.  We are on your side.  We understand that at such an anxious time, you need advice on the legal options open to you, delivered with the reality of your own situation in mind.  Our goal is to provide our clients with practical and personally- tailored solutions to the issues which confront them in such situations.  We aim to ensure that our clients emerge from a stressful period in their lives equipped as well as possible to progress to the next stage. 

We understand that dealing with separation can be a daunting prospect.  Many people have children for whom arrangements require to be made.  There may be joint finances which require to be dealt with. Uncertainty surrounding both the immediate future and longer term can cause stress. We understand that it can be difficult to see a clear path forward. Our aim is to deal with these issues sensitively and to provide our clients with sound and practical legal advice.

Divorce, Civil Partnerships & Separation Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland

In Scotland, financial matters between separating parties should be resolved either before or at the same time as they divorce.  It is not always necessary to proceed to Court and in many cases an Application to Court will be a last resort, only pursued when a negotiated settlement cannot be achieved.  We aim to assist by providing advice to assist you in resolving matters by way of a written Separation Agreement.  Such an Agreement can regulate how financial matters are dealt with, such as what should happen to the family home.  We can guide and advise you through settlement negotiations, reduce any settlement terms agreed to writing, and assist you in ensuring that those settlement terms are implemented.

The aim of the legislation is to achieve a “fair” division of  the value of any matrimonial assets. Matrimonial property is, broadly speaking, anything of value which you or your spouse have acquired during the course of your marriage, from the date you were married until the date you ceased living together as spouses. Similarly, matrimonial debts are debts either of you have acquired during the course of your marriage. You each have a right to a share of the value of the assets and each have a responsibility to bear a share of the debts. In the first instance, a fair share is considered to be a half share.

One of the first steps we take is to find out the nature and extent of any matrimonial assets and liabilities. Assets might include, for example, the family home, bank accounts in the names of either or both of the parties, vehicles, endowment-type life policies, stocks and shares, ISAs and pension entitlements. Debts might include mortgage obligations, loans and credit card debts. 

We can assist in advising whether any particular asset or debt is in fact matrimonial for the purposes of the legislation. There are a number of exceptions to the general rule that property or debt acquired during the course of the marriage is considered matrimonial.  For example, property acquired by way of gift or inheritance is not of itself matrimonial property. Debts that were accrued by one party without the knowledge or consent of the other party and which were not run up for normal household purposes may not be matrimonial debts. Many people assume that the family home is automatically considered to be matrimonial property. However, if the home was bought by only one of the parties before they considered marriage, it may not be.

Once we have established what precisely the matrimonial assets and liabilities are, we can then assist in obtaining valuations. For some assets, this may be very simple, eg obtaining a bank statement to prove the balance at a particular time. Other assets are more difficult to value. For example, in relation to a pension, a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) is required. This is not something that is normally provided in routine literature from the pension provider. Further, the pension may have been started before the marriage. We can assist in ensuring that any valuation is properly apportioned so that is only reflects the value of the pension attributable to the course of the marriage.

Once the value of all the assets and liabilities has been established, we can enter into negotiations to determine how the value of the assets can be allocated between the parties. The legislation provides that the matrimonial property can be divided by various means, including by way of a property transfer order, payment of a cash sum and pension-sharing. At the outset, we find out what our clients’ priorities are. We then work towards a resolution that achieves those priorities. For example, a party may wish to have title to the jointly owned family home transferred into his or her sole name. This might be achieved by that person offering a cash sum representing the other party’s share in the equity in exchange. A party may wish to secure a future pension entitlement and may therefore forego payment of a cash sum in exchange for a pension share. We understand that each client has different expectations and requirements for the future. We always bear these in mind when negotiating.

Where it is not possible to negotiate settlement, we are experienced Court practitioners and are happy to progress matters through Court.  We understand that most people have never required to enter a Court process and that this can be a particularly daunting prospect.  Our experienced solicitors are sensitive to this and will assist and advise along every step of that process.

Contact our Separation and Divorce or Dissolution of Civil Partnership Solicitor in Glasgow, David Doig

Where it is not possible to negotiate settlement, we are happy to progress matters through court and will assist and advice along every step of that progress. To speak to one of the best family lawyers in Glasgow, contact us on 0141 530 1360.

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