Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnership


How do I apply for divorce/dissolution of civil partnership?

There are two types of procedure that can be used in Scotland to apply for divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. These are often known as the ‘simplified’ or ‘do-it-yourself’ procedure and the ‘ordinary’ or ‘non simplified’ procedure. These applications can be raised in the sheriff court or Court of Session but there are different procedures and forms used and different fees charged dependant on where you raise the claim.

Which divorce procedure?

Simplified/do it yourself procedure

You can only use the simplified procedure if you can say yes to all of these statements:

  • I am applying for divorce/dissolution because of the irretrievable breakdown of my 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;
  • There are no other court proceedings under way which might result in the end of my marriage / civil partnership.

If you have said no to any of these questions, then you cannot use the simplified procedure and we would recommend seeking legal advice as the ‘ordinary’/’non simplified’ procedure will need to be used.

Please note a judge or sheriff may only allow your application to proceed where neither you or your spouse/civil partner, suffer from mental illness, personality disorder or learning disabilities.

More information including forms and guidance for the simplified/do it yourself procedure

Ordinary/non simplified procedure

Where you have not been able to meet the criteria for the simplified procedure, you will need to use the ordinary procedure. This is a more complicated procedure and therefore we would highly recommend that you take some legal advice.

See more information on the ordinary/non simplified procedure

How much does it cost to lodge the application with the court?

The fees for divorce will depend on whether you are using the simplified or ordinary procedure and whether the application is lodged in the sheriff court or Court of Session.

Court fees are payable for lodging these applications in court. You may be entitled to fee exemption, for example if you receive certain state benefits, see Court Fees for more information.

Download the Fee Exemption Form

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.

Frequently asked questions

The answers to the most common questions relating to divorce/dissolution of civil partnership can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

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.

Where can I get legal advice?

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service staff are not legally qualified and cannot provide you with legal advice. If you need legal advice, or information on eligibility for legal aid or assistance, the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors in your area.

Please Note: The information provided cannot cover every situation which might arise in the course of a claim. You should also note that the guidance is not the authority upon which the procedure is based. The formal authority is contained in the court rules.

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