Can I use the simplified/do it yourself procedure?
The simplified/do it yourself procedure can only be used in certain cases. It can only be used where:
- You are applying for divorce/dissolution because of the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage/partnership based on one year separation with consent or two years separation without consent, or because of the issue of an interim gender recognition certificate;
- There are no children of the marriage/partnership under the age of 16;
- There are no financial matters to sort out;
- You are not, and there are no signs that you spouse or civil partner are not able to manage his or her affairs because of mental illness, personality disorder or learning disability;
- There are no other court proceedings under way which might result in the end of your marriage / civil partnership.
There are also additional requirements relating to residence which you will need to meet to use this procedure and these are different depending on whether you are raising the application in the sheriff court or Court of Session. In both cases, you need to be able to say that:
- You and your spouse / civil partner are habitually resident in Scotland; and/or
- You and your spouse / civil partner were both last habitually resident together in Scotland and one of you still resides there; and/or
- Your spouse/ civil partner is habitually resident in Scotland; and/or
- You are habitually resident in Scotland having resided there for at least one year immediately before this application is made; and/or
- You are habitually resident in Scotland and have resided there for at least six months immediately before this application is made and you are domiciled in Scotland,
- (For Divorce applications only) You and your spouse are domiciled in Scotland.
If none of the above apply to you then you can still apply for simplified divorce if:
- either you or your spouse / civil partner are domiciled in Scotland, and
- additional provisions apply which enable nationals of other member states of the European Union to qualify. For further details on this ask your nearest Citizen's Advice Bureau, or Sheriff Clerk's Office.
If you are applying for simplified divorce/dissolution in the sheriff court, one of the following must also apply to you:
- you have lived at your current address for at least 40 days before the date of signing the application,
- your spouse / civil partner has lived at his/her current address for at least 40 days before the date of you signing the application, or
- either you or your spouse / civil partner have no known residence in Scotland, but did live at the address shown for at least 40 days, ending not more than 40 days before the date of you signing the application.
Which forms do I need to use?
If you are applying for simplified divorce or dissolution of civil partnership in the sheriff court, you can access the forms and guidance notes on the website.
If you are applying for simplified divorce or dissolution of civil partnership in the Court of Session, you can access the forms (see forms 49.73-A to 49.73-C and forms 49.80-A to 49.80-C) and guidance notes on the website.
How much does it cost to lodge the application in court?
The fees to lodge an application for simplified divorce or dissolution of civil partnership depend on whether the application is lodged in the sheriff court or Court of Session. Further information can be found in the 'Court Fees' section.
You may be entitled to fee exemption, for example if you are entitled to certain state benefits. For more information on fee exemption see the 'Court Fees' section and the fee exemption application form.
You should note that there may be other fees chargeable as the case proceeds and these fees do not include any fees you may need to pay if you have instructed a solicitor to help you. The solicitor can give you information on these costs.
There is an affidavit on the application form which needs to be sworn before a Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, or Commissioner for Oaths. This service is free if you go to a justice of the peace. If you would like to do this before a Justice of the Peace then you can contact your local court to arrange an appointment.
Where can I get further information?
If you have any further questions about simplified divorce or dissolution of civil partnership, please contact your local sheriff court, or the Court of Session if you plan to send your application there.
Citizens Advice Bureau can also assist you. Contact details can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
Where can I get legal advice?
Scottish court service staff are not legally qualified and therefore cannot provide you with any legal advice. However, the simplified divorce/dissolution procedure is designed so that you can "do it yourself"" and not need to get legal advice. If you do decide that you would rather get legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors in your area.
Law Society of Scotland website
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently accessed questions related to simplified divorce/dissolution of civil partnership can be accessed in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Please Note: This information cannot cover every situation which might arise in the course of an action. You should also note that the information is not the authority upon which the procedure is based. The formal authority is contained in the rules.