Separating in Scotland: how to achieve the best outcome for your family

Separating from your partner or spouse will always be difficult and there is no doubt that after the events of the past year, everyone is feeling a little more anxious and fragile.

Breaking up is never easy … but with the right help you can minimise the stress
Breaking up is never easy … but with the right help you can minimise the stress

That’s why, if you’re going through a separation, being prepared and having the right strategy in place is vital for a happier outcome for all the family.

The experienced team at family divorce lawyers Gibson Kerr know it can be a confusing time, and have outlined five key steps to consider when your relationship breaks down, so you’re in the best position to move forward with life after separation.

Be clear on what you want

There are a lot of decisions to be made and it’s important that you think everything through so you’re clear on what outcomes you want to achieve. For example, you will need to decide who will leave the joint home and where your children or pets will live. When children are involved, things can get complicated, so have a clear plan of how you see care being divided, bearing in mind what’s best for the kids. You will need to consider any joint financial arrangements and how these will be divided going forward. Gather together all the documents you have relating to arrangements - these will be useful going forward.

Be realistic

While it’s important to consider how you would like the future to look, you also need to factor in what your partner and children want and need. Couples who are prepared to compromise over arrangements often have more successful relationships post-breakdown. Make sure all your plans are realistic and you will have a better chance of achieving them.

Talk to a solicitor

Once you know how you want the future to look, speak to a Family Law professional, and together you can put together a strategy to make this happen. A qualified solicitor can guide and reassure you thorough this difficult time and will help you understand the process. You will have lots of questions and they will be able to help answer them.

Understand the cost and timescales

Depending on the complexity of your situation, the cost of separation and divorce can vary, as can the timescales. If you and your ex-partner are able to agree on most things, it should be a smoother, less expensive and quicker process. But it's important that you inform yourself of the potential costs and timings in advance, so you’re well prepared. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on these.

Consider the effect on children

Going through a separation will always be stressful and upsetting for the children involved, however, consideration of their feelings can help make things a lot easier on them. While there may be ill-feeling between you and your ex-partner, you should both try to keep your children as unaffected by this as possible. Keep the conversation open, be as honest with them as possible and encourage them to ask questions and talk about their feelings. If you can keep the separation amicable, the entire family will feel the benefits.

Separation or divorce is never easy, but the right advice can make it less painful. The friendly and experienced family divorce lawyers at Gibson Kerr support many people through this emotional time.

If you want some help or advice on separation or divorce, contact Family Law partner Fiona Rasmusen by email: [email protected] or call 0131 226 9161.