The well-publicised case of Tini Owens, the wife who was refused a divorce because it was insufficient to say she was trapped in loveless and unhappy marriage, is a reminder that the granting of divorce is not automatic and the grounds for it still have to be proved.
The case has led to call for reform of the law in England to introduce no fault divorce, with the fear that the decision in the Owens case will only lead to more divorce cases where spouses have to cite examples of unreasonable behaviour.
In Scotland, other than recognised gender change of either party to the marriage, the only ground of divorce is irretrievable breakdown of marriage which must be established in one of four ways.
In the case of dissolution of civil partnership, the irretrievable breakdown needs to be established in the same ways, though adultery is excluded as the definition of adultery remains confined to relationships between people of the opposite sex.
In practice, in most cases the divorce will be uncontested and will proceed on the grounds of either one year or two years’ non-cohabitation.
However, in some instances it is necessary to raise divorce proceedings at an early stage after separation, and in those instances it will be necessary to be able to prove the adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
Whether the behaviour can be classed as unreasonable is determined in the context of the parties to that particular marriage.
Some examples, such as alcohol abuse, physical violence or emotional abuse may be obvious. However, a link must always be made between these behaviours and the end of the relationship, which means problems can occur if the couple continued to live together in the relationship in spite of this behaviour from a spouse.
The behaviour leading to the breakdown of the marriage also needs to be proved by an independent source and this can cause issues where it has all occurred behind closed doors.
In most cases, finalising the divorce itself is straightforward and it is the process of arriving at arrangements in relation to children and finances which demands careful consideration.
However, the Owens case reminds us that care needs to be taken when the grounds of divorce are contested to ensure there is enough evidence before a court to clearly show the marriage has broken down for the reasons stated.
Solicitors and staff in the Digby Brown Dundee office were overwhelmed to present a cheque for £10,391.68 to the Brae Riding for the Disabled.
Our Dundee office chose The Brae as their charity partner for 2016 and were honoured to support this local charity over this last year.
Through the commitment of staff and volunteers, The Brae has been providing horse riding therapy for disabled adults and children from Dundee and surrounding areas since it opened in 2008. By empowering people affected by an accident or serious illness to ride a horse offered a challenge and a chance to regain mobility and a sense of achievement.
Some of the fundraising highlights have included a charity quiz night where the office raised over £2,000, taking on the ultimate challenge of the Tough Mudder, 5k Santa fun run along with hot lunch and bake sales.
Robert Kernaghan, Solicitor and Partner in our Dundee office said: “Having seen the inspirational work The Brae do with local disabled adults and children in Dundee and the surrounding area, our office was incredibly motivated to get out there and fundraise for this local charity.
“Jennifer Watson from our office was the charity ambassador and put together some fantastic fundraisers for the charity.
“We are absolutely delighted to hand over a cheque for over £10,000 which represents our fundraising efforts throughout 2016 and we look forward to continuing to support the charity over this coming year.”
Digby Brown’s Kirkcaldy office, located at 23 Whytescauseway, is now open on a Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
This began on Saturday 28th January 2017, with the office initially open once a month, on the last Saturday of each month.
By opening on a Saturday, it gives people living in Kirkcaldy and the Fife area the chance to speak with a local solicitor for friendly legal advice – free of charge. This should be particularly helpful for people who struggle for time during the working week.
Our solicitors are specialists in personal injury compensation claims and have been helping people in Fife for over a decade. Have a look at some of our local case studies to find out how our solicitors have helped others secure compensation in the Fife region.
“By opening the Kirkcaldy office on a Saturday, we hope to make it easier for people to access expert legal advice and speak face to face with a solicitor.
“We would encourage anyone with a legal concern to come along. Even those that are not certain whether there is an issue, our solicitors are more than happy to help you find out where you stand legally and what your options are.”
The Digby Brown Kirkcaldy office can be found at 23 Whytescauseway, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1XF, just off the High Street.
To speak with a local solicitor for guidance on a personal injury or related legal matter, you can either arrange an appointment or drop into our Kirkcaldy office between 10am to 2pm on the Saturday.