Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Homeless Families

The number of homeless featured in The Herald today. Among the 56,609 homeless group Scottish Government statistics put the number of single people at more than 33,000. 13,000 single parents and 3000 couples with children were on the list. 6500 men were asked to leave their household while almost 2000 women had to flee violence or abuse at home. 3920 men and 1956 women people sought accommodation after a relationship breakdown. During the year ending March 2008, 3986 families with children without a permanent home applied to councils as homeless.

See Numbers of Scots families without homes soars to 4000.


Helping Fathers

In the wee hours of this morning I plucked up enough courage to check the FTSE 100 on the internet. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it had dropped to less than 2000 points. Then I scrolled up the screen to find I was looking at the Techmark Index. Phew! It's the first time a drop of 5% in the markets has been good news.

Afterwards I couldn't sleep and came across yesterday's report in The Times , How can courts do more to help fathers, I'd missed earlier. In wake of the Oxford University Centre for Family Law study assessing how courts in England & Wales handle contact between separated parents and their children, featured in this post, Frances Gibb suggests that although judges have been vindicated the system overall is unfair. Her argument is based on the study finding that non resident parents are disadvantaged because parents with care "start off from a position of strength and it is easy for them to spin things out; some applicants give up because the process is too long and costly, both financially and emotionally”.

According to Frances Gibb researchers found a presumption of 50/50 contact finding favour with some judges and "Courts and lawyers may know that judges operate such a presumption." Now I have read the first parts of the study in detail and skimmed through the rest so I might be missing something but my recollection was researchers referring to a 'presumption of contact' and 'shared residency,' not a presumption of 50/50 contact. Shared residency indicates that a child has two homes, but contact can be anything from as little as 2 or 3 days a fortnight. In fact in their conclusions the researchers said there was nothing in the study to suggest that a presumption of contact would make any difference at all to the court’s approach.


Monday, September 29, 2008

F4J Relaunch

After a few less than positive posts about fathers, in particular fathers' rights groups, in the last few weeks I intended not to blog negative stories about them anymore. However this morning, thanks to Current Awareness, I came across an article in The Independent about the relaunch of Fathers' 4 Justice. The plan is to bring parents together by providing a telephone counselling service for families in breakdown and a formal lobbying group to put political pressure on Government to change the family courts system. Matt O'Connor, F4J founding member, hopes the number of the new organisation will be found in every solicitor's office and court. This sounds laudable so why do I feel cynical?

It's all very well O'Connor saying they don't want to polarise people or be misogynistic but they have an appalling record of doing just that. F4J did a great disservice to fathers and families through ratcheting up grievances and hostilities. In a comment during 2004, Misogynistic bullies don't deserve justice, The Independent reported the image F4J promoted of themselves was "offensively misogynist" -

"It is alarming to witness F4J imposing it's uncompromising conditions on the law, society, politics, family life and the national conversation. Anyone who opposes them is given the treatment [as many of us can testify!]. The MP Clive Soley, for example, who has criticised these self-pitying warriors, gets regular warnings on the internet. One message says: "Watch yerself you wouldn't want to wake up one morning and find the BNP has stolen your seat."
Let's not be too hasty and forget Matt O'Connor and his team presided over that.



This is a rant and has absolutely nothing to do with divorce. Our son, pictured above with friends, has been asked to accompany some musicians performing at the Scottish Parliament. To do this he is required to obtain a Portable Appliance Test certificate for his electric piano and deliver it to the Parliament tomorrow morning before the performance so the electricians there can check it. It's bureaucracy gone mad. As a MEng student in electrical and electronic engineering he is better qualified than most electricians to check the safety of his own equipment. Grr...


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cats 4 Justice

Muhammad, the cat who has adopted John Bolch of Family Lore, reports plans to set up of a cats' rights group - 'Cats 4 Justice' campaigning against the bias against cats in vets' surgeries. See the post Conspiracy Theory.

Next there will be claims the veterinary   profession is infiltrated by Common Purpose.


Are You Gender Typical?

Continuing the gender theme last week The Independent had an interesting Questionnaire: Are you gender typical? devised by psychotherapist and broadcaster, Phillip Hodson. Carl Jung believed every psyche consisted of both male and female elements and recent research supports the theory that psychologically there are more similarities between men and women at the same end of the gender spectrum than between those of the same sex on opposite ends.

In the test I scored 9/20 which puts me in the middle ground of the spectrum so, apparently, I can appreciate both masculine and feminine pursuits without getting hung up on what seems gender "appropriate" or whether my sexuality is being challenged. Just as well considering my chosen occupation.


Focus On Gender

On Friday the Office of National Statistics released figures here focusing on the differences between men and women.

• There are more women than men in the UK and they live longer. Women spend more years in poor health than men.

• Around half of all men and women are married, but among the divorced and widowed, men are more likely to remarry than women.

• Men are more likely to own their own home, while women are more likely to rent from the social sector.

• A greater proportion of men are in employment, women are more likely to work part time.

• For women, the presence of a dependent child has a substantial impact on employment.

• Of working-age women with children aged under five, 57 per cent were in employment.

• Fifty six per cent of lone mothers were in employment, compared with 72 per cent of married or cohabiting women with dependent children.

• Flexible working arrangements among men and women with dependent children show a similar story. Just under a third of mothers used some form of flexible working pattern compared with around a fifth of fathers.

• In June 1985, 28 per cent of employee jobs held by men were in manufacturing. By March 2008 this had fallen to 16 per cent.The proportion of manufacturing jobs held by women also dropped, from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.

• Men are ten times more likely than women to be employed in skilled trades (19 per cent compared with 2 per cent) and are also more likely to be managers and senior officials.

• While more men drive than women, women make more so-called 'escort' trips, such as taking a child to school or a club.

Thanks to The Herald for this article, The XY factor: men still more likely to have full-time jobs, pointing me in the right direction.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

SLAB Loophole

In another of his posts, How to pretend to be a senior counsel… and get paid for it, Jonathan Mitchell QC writes about a loophole in The Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Regulations 1989. Members of the Faculty of Advocates are regarded as "Senior Counsel" if they are QCs, but there are no accreditation criteria applying to solicitor advocates. This allows solicitor advocates to send instructions to themselves as senior counsel, and take the higher fee, without ever instructing senior counsel at all. Scottish Legal Aid Board only authorise legal aid for senior counsel because the case is exceptionally difficult or important and how much the loophole costs the tax payer is unknown.

The Society of Solicitor Advocates has suggested, solicitor advocates can be accredited as 'senior' meaning they would be paid the same without the qualification. This could lead to the scenario where a solicitor advocate claims the senior counsel rate and Jonathan would be left with the junior rate, because that is all that is left. The client would lose out because the next time Jonathan would refuse the instructions on this basis.

When legal aid is so stretched so that it can be difficult finding a lawyer, including family solicitors, prepared to take on legal aid work there must be a better way to ensure public funds are being appropriately spent.


Precedents & Anonymity

Jonathan Mitchell QC was the senior counsel representing the petitioner in the case or C-v-C (or NJC-v-NPC) I wrote about in this earlier post. The father was representing himself and there was indication that he intended to drag out the hearing. I believe it is a common problem that litigants in person have difficulty in keeping their submissions tight and because they don't know the rules of evidence bring out material which, for one reason or another, isn't relevant. Invariably cases take longer and in NJC-v-NPC there was a degree of urgency so an order was sought limiting how long the parties might address the court. See Jonathan's post C v C: a precedent for fixed time limits on speeches in the Court of Session

The opinion in this case was anonymised and a few weeks ago I was somewhat surprised to see an article on the net about extradition proceedings running in parallel to NJC-v-NPC which named the father. Apparently something similar happened to the father who recently won an appeal overturning decisions by sheriffs in Aberdeen and an English Court that the child residency case should be heard in English courts (RAB v MIB) . Jonathan covers this in another post Anonymity and privacy in case reporting in Scotland and makes the point it is hard to defend the publication of sensitive personal information of named persons, yet Scottish courts do this all the time.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say it's great that at last someone in the legal profession in Scotland is posting about family law.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Courts Not Biased Against Fathers

A study by the Oxford University Centre for Family Law and Policy published on the Ministry of Justice website has concluded there is no evidence that non resident parents are unreasonably treated by the family courts in England & Wales.

During the parliamentary debates relating to the Children and Adoption Act 2006 (see this earlier post) introducing a statutory presumption of contact was resisted on the grounds that a) the courts already started from the point that contact was to be promoted unless there were good reasons to the contrary and b) that a statutory presumption would undermine the fundamental basis of the Children Act ie the child's interests are paramount. The research was commissioned to establish a proper evidence base.

Key points

• Outcomes were typically agreed. It was rare for the court to have to make a final ruling.

• Most cases ended with face to face contact. Where they did not this was usually because the applicant withdrew from proceedings.

• Contact typically involved overnight stays, at least fortnightly, with some children having additional visiting contact. Visiting contact was usually weekly or more and was almost always unsupervised.

• Non-resident parents were largely successful in getting direct contact where there had been none and in getting the type of contact sought.

• Those who achieved staying contact usually got the amount they sought, those with visiting contact mainly did not.
Applications to enforce previous orders were unusual and rarely wholly successful.

• Non-resident parents were almost twice as likely to succeed in getting the type of contact they wanted as resident parents who initially opposed staying, unsupervised contact or any contact.

• Four in five resident parents who opposed unsupervised contact raised serious welfare concerns.

• The initial position of the resident parent and whether they raised serious welfare issues were significantly related to outcome, as were the age of the child, whether there was any contact at the point the application was made and the interval since the child was last seen.

• There was no evidence that non resident parents as a group are systematically unreasonably treated by the family courts. On the contrary, the study shows that the courts start from the position that contact is generally in the interests of the child, they make great efforts to achieve this and in most instances they are successful. In a small minority of cases, however, it might be argued that the outcome was unfair to the non-resident parent


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dads House

Refuges for women and children have been around for 40 years and now a project, Homes for Fathers and Families, is aiming to establish it's first fathers and children temporary accommodation (a Dads House) in one of the London Boroughs. The charity was set up by a father, Billy McGranaghan, who looked after his son when his mother left 18 years go. "It's not just the dads who are looking after a child on their own we want to help," Billy says. "It's the fathers who have split up with their partner and had to move out of the family home, away from their child, often being housed miles away from them."

The idea is a a typical Dads House would house 10 to 15 single fathers and their children. In addition to family bedrooms, there would be a restaurant, a quiet area for homework and for fathers to receive specialist advice and a "drop in" centre to support non residents.

The story and details of a fund raising event are in The Hounslow Chronicle.


"Who Ate All the Pies?"

According to the Journal "the scales of justice are groaning under the weight... lawyers are officially Britain's second fattest profession."

In a survey of male workers 33% of lawyers were found to have waistlines of 38" or above. This was put down to lavish business lunches, nights out, too many cakes in the office and little time for exercise. Truck drivers topped the list.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Horse Laugh

We have all heard of spouse maintenance and child maintenance, but now in landmark ruling reported in The Times an ex spouse a wife has been awarded a new home and £50k a year maintenance for her horses.

Mr Justice Potter upheld the district judge’s ruling and said that providing the husband remained in the City “with an income to match”, then “it was not right to expect the wife to work full-time so she was left with no time for her horses or her eventing”, which both agreed had been a major feature of their lives.


Updated 24/9/08: It makes more sense on reading the judgement, S v S [2008] EWHC 519 (Fam)

The joint net assets to be shared were £3m. The wife is to spend £1m on a property leaving £400k to invest and provide an income of £20k per annum. Her future earning capacity is £12k and spouse maintenance of £50k was awarded to meet the wife's budget of just under £80k. This leaves the husband with £900k to buy a flat in London, £500k to invest and provide an income of £25k plus £160k income, giving a total income of £185k. After paying his wife £50k he will be left with an income of £135k.

Mr Justice Potter added "....it is important that the wife should appreciate this, was that, if the husband was made redundant or in fact acted upon his stated desire for an early retirement in two or three years time, it would be reasonable for the wife to continue to maintain her horses at his expense. On the contrary, in those circumstances they would become an unjustifiable extravagance. For my part, I would observe that the wife should realise that it would be both foolish and ill-advised not to start planning for her future now on the basis that.."



The Telegraph carries the sad story of another father killing his two children and then taking his own life in Southampton. He had been living in a caravan after separation from his wife and according to neighbours had resigned from his job on Friday. The children had spent the weekend with their father who phoned his wife last night and told her he could not live without the children before apparently smothering the two girls, said to be aged one and three, before hanging himself.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


The Independent carried two items last Tuesday relating to marriage.

The facts of life: marriage

in 1940 the number of marriages in England and Wales that were the first marriage for both partners peaked at 426,100 when 91 per cent of all marriages were the first for both partners

in 2006 number of marriages in England and Wales that were the first marriage for both partners fell to 144,120, accounting for 61 per cent of all marriages

on average, couples get engaged two years, 11 months and eight days into their relationship

the average wedding in the UK now costs 20,273, according to a study by You and Your Wedding Magazine

doing the dishes together is one of the keys to a happy marriage, according to a survey by the Pew Research Centre

one single woman in five is thought to be stashing away money for her wedding even without having found a groom

Till death do us part: why marriage remains popular

Ponders the resilience of institutionalised monogamy. "The marriage contract is unlike most contracts," writes L J Weitzman "Its provisions are unwritten, its penalties are unspecified, and the terms of the contract are typically unknown to the contracting parties... No one would sign it if they had read it first."


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Biased Judge

For those too young to remember or in a coma at the time this is Peter Cook's satiric interpretation at The Secret Policeman's Ball of a judge during the Jeremy Thorpe trial (1979).


Friday, September 19, 2008

Rights of the Child

The UK is at last to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child in full which will force the UK Border Agency to put the welfare of migrant children first when making decisions about deportation. Full story is here at the BBC.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Thanks to The Odyssey who emailed me a link to David Aaronovitch's article in The Times about the spread of conspiracy theories on the internet. Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web, was quoted as being worried by that through using the net “a cult which was 12 people who had some deep personal issues suddenly find a formula which is very believable - a sort of conspiracy theory of sorts and which you can imagine spreading to thousands of people and being deeply damaging”.

By shear coincidence I stumbled on such a conspiracy theory this morning. It is claimed those running the CSA are mostly graduates of Common Purpose (aka the New World Order!), and that Common Purpose has infiltrated business, government, health services, the police and the legal profession throughout the UK. Furthermore Common Purpose holds secret meetings, brainwashes it's members and receives millions of tax payers money. Allegedly some people have died and some are surving prison sentences for trying to expose this.

So what is this subversive organisation? Common Purpose is an accredited Government training provider delivering leadership development programmes and the organisation adheres to the international Chatham House Rule of confidentiality (secrecy?) to encourage openness and the sharing of information. Neurolinguist Programming (brainwashing?), used widely in business communication and management training, is adopted. Common Purpose is a non profit making organisation. The conspiracy theory would be laughable if it wasn't so damaging and the Common Purpose Trustees felt it necessary to issue a statement.

Updated 22/9/08; Common Purpose have informed me of this site they have produced to set the record straight.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Judge X

Today The Guardian reported a review of a sex abuse inquiry case. Originally Dyfed Powys police investigated a judge accused of child abuse by his former wife and concluded the claims were unfounded. The judge's ex spouse then complained the investigation had been inadequate and now a review by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has ordered the police reopen the case to establish whether the former wife's complaints about the inquiry were properly handled. Initially the IPPC refused to investigate the handling of her complaint on the grounds that her paperwork had arrived with them late but a judicial review ordered further inquiry.

Whether the allegations in this particular case are true remains to be seen, but one spouse vilifying the other isn't uncommon in relationship breakdown. An explanation for this is given by Janet R. Johnson and Linda E.G. Campbell in their book "Impasses of Divorce: The Dynamics and Resolution of Family Conflict."

“Our clinical experience leads us to conclude that the actual experience of separation for some couples was the crucible in which these negative views of each other are brewed and crystallized. Couples who experience particularly traumatic separations are prime candidates for generating negative images. Perceived experiences of being suddenly and unexpectedly left; abandoned after secret plotting and planning; left after a secret love affair with another person; left after uncharacteristic, explosive violence--all are separation modes that are typically traumatic and involve inordinate degrees of humiliation, anger, defeat, guilt, and fear, thus setting the stage for what is to come. A radical reconstruction of the identity of the ex-spouse can occur at the time of a traumatic separation. The desperate reactions and counter-reactions to the crisis are likely to crystallize new negative views of each other which subsequently become autonomous of these origins"


Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah's Law

From today thousands of parents and guardians (presumably in England & Wales) will have the formal right to ask police to look into the background of people who have unsupervised access to their children according to The Independent. A pilot has been launched in four areas allowing single mothers to check out whether new partners are sex offenders.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

First Official Sharia Courts

In July The Times reported Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers telling an audience at the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel “There is no question of such [Sharia] courts sitting in this country or such sanctions being applied here," and “So far as the law is concerned, those who live in this country are governed by English and Welsh law and subject to the jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.” However, John Bolch of Family Lore posts about another article today in The Times reporting the government has quietly sanctioned the first official sharia courts, classified as arbitration tribunals under a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996. Rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give them the power to rule on their case. Five sharia courts have already been set up in England and two more are planned for Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

FNF In Turmoil

Last weekend I posted about Fathers For Justice closing and this weekend according to the Times in this article the group Families Need Fathers is in turmoil after one of it's officials made “false and defamatory allegations” against a father in a letter written on an FNF letterhead to a judge. FNF receives a government grant of more than £300,000 and is to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs and damages. The Times makes the point that the father didn't know about the allegations and therefore the case illustrates the secrecy of the family courts.

A few years ago I discovered another FNF official, Stan Haywood, signed this Fathers' Manifesto (signatory 78) by the pro sexist and racist Christian Party. The Fathers' Manifesto is bad enough but there is also a petition calling for the repeal of the American 19th Amendment, which gives women the right to vote. Now that's what I call embarrassing.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Family Law Disputes Motion

In support of his motion in the Scottish parliament yesterday MSP Nigel Don (SNP) argued a survey of sheriff clerks’ perspectives on child contact enforcement in Scottish sheriff courts reporting non-compliance with contact involved a negligible proportion of family actions was at odds with the number of constituents he sees where parents find it difficult or impossible to enforce contact orders when the other parent is unco-opertative. He added absent parents could also be at fault.

During the ensuing debate the Scottish Government were criticised for scrapping a pilot and commissioned research into the problem of non-compliance with contact orders mentioned in my earlier post. Contact centres were said to be grim and inadequate. Legal resolution could be a long and expensive process and courts were unwilling to impose penalties.

Further to the difficulties of challenging court assumptions regarding jurisdiction highlighted in the recent case of Mr B there was a call for the early resolution of cross border issues and clear and consistent statute.

Robin Harper (Scottish Green Party) expressed concerns about lack of awareness about the law, in particular for young people under 25. The Community Law Advice Network collates work to make the law more accessible to young people who, according to their research, have less awareness of rights.

There was a general consensus encouraging current moves by Scotland’s legal profession towards collaborative dispute resolution to help divorcing couples reach early agreement and minimise conflict. One MSP thought legal aid should be available for collaborative law. Another reckoned the way for grandparents to maintain relations with children was by resolving disputes between parents whilst someone else warned that often 3rd parties exacerbate the situation and grandparents may compound problems. Domestic violence is not a dispute for resolution There was a call for better legal remedies for the non compliance with contact orders and a suggestion that non compliance should automatically trigger a mediation interview.

Minister of Justice, Kenny MacAskill, ended the debate saying there were relatively few difficult cases and sometimes justice is not served. There were no simple answers and intractable contact problems defy the wisdom of solomon. Sanctions such as prison or fines do not serve the interests of children well.

I have never known MSPs talk so fast and cram so much into their alloted time.

Updated: The official report is available here.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Matters of Jurisdiction

Jonathan Mitchell QC has picked up on a potential leak of an unissued decision in his post Odd Story About Court of Session Appeal relating to jurisdiction of courts within the UK. Apparently a father has won an appeal and the Court of Appeal overturned decisions by sheriffs in Aberdeen and an English Court that the child residency case should be heard in English courts. Jonathan questions whether similar disputes are that rare.

Updated: The Opinion is now available here.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Bang Day

Engineers at the CERN laboratory near Geneva are all fired up today (excuse the pun) waiting to see if beams will circulate without a hitch in a vacuum chamber which has taken 14 years to build. The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest machine ever built and designed to accelerate particles in order that scientists can investigate aspects of particle physics. The physicists' goals are mind-boggling. Discovering the Higgs boson, the particle that explains the origins of mass; explaining why the universe is made of matter not anti-matter; freeing the constituent parts of the particles that make up the nuclei of atoms; and possibly making ordinary matter and antimatter 'divorce' in a Big Bang.


Lawyer Quotes

"A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a 'brief.' " - Franz Kafka

"Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge." - David Mellor

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." - William Shakespeare

and my favourite from the American journalist Hunter S. Thompson;
"As your attorney, it is my duty to inform you that it is not important that you understand what I'm doing or why you're paying me so much money. What's important is that you continue to do so." -


Monday, September 8, 2008

Breaking Contact Orders

In England & Wales the long awaited new measures to deal with the non compliance of child contact introduced by the Children and Adoption Act 2006 are to come into force in November according to today's article in the Guardian. Measures include contact activity 'directions' to attend activities such as programmes, classes and counselling or guidance sessions that help promote contact or address violent behaviour; orders to carry out unpaid work; and compensation for financial loss.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

First "Palimony" Case

The first award under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 which gave new rights for cohabitants to seek financial provision in the event of a relationship breakdown was made recently by the Court of Session on 2 September.

According to The Scotsman a woman claimed £70k to cover the economic disadvantage she had suffered through the relationship by staying at home to care for children.

Lord Matthews, the judge, said the mother's loss had to be balanced against the contributions the father had made during their time together. He awarded week £1,460.31 which represented a half share of a tax bill and a half share of the estimated £26,000 to cover childcare until the children are 16 to be paid by installments of £400 a month.

The full judgment can be found on the Scottish Courts website.

Amended 27/1/09: The figure originally quoted for the half share of the tax bill, £14,460.31, was an error in fact the total amount .


Saturday, September 6, 2008

F4J to Close?

Thanks to Arnie, aka the Odyssey of Goughs Legal Beagle, for pointing this out. According to this article in the Sun Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers For Justice, said the campaign had become “untenable” and F4J is to close. Is this correct?

Update: Nick Langford confirmed F4J is to close on Family Lore. See link below.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

CM Options

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the organisation that is replacing the Child Support Agency, has introduced a service to provide information and support for separated parents to help them make private arrangements for child suport. On the service's new website, Child Maintenance Options, there is a calculator, a budgeting tool, private agreement form and a benefits table as well as leaflets and guides.

Sadly the CSA staff and advisers guide have been removed and there are no replacements. I hope this is just a temporary  state of affairs because these documents were in fact very useful.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Divorce Statistics 2007

Last week the Office of National Statistics released the divorce figures for 2007;

• between 2006 and 2007, the provisional number of divorces granted in the UK fell by 2.6 per cent to 144,220, from 148,141

• the provisional number of divorces in England & Wales fell by 3.0 per cent to 128,534 in 2007

• for all divorces granted to an individual (rather than jointly to both), behaviour was the most common fact proven in England & Wales

• one in five men and women divorcing in England & Wales during 2007 had a previous marriage ending in divorce

The General Register Office for Scotland Annual Review of Demographic Trends was released earlier on 15th August. Changes brought about by the implementation of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 in May 2006 mean the ground of separation with consent is now one year (previously 2 years) and separation without consent is two years (previously 5 years) Desertion as grounds for divorce was was abolished in 2006.

• the number of divorces in Scotland during 2007 was 12,773, a drop of 241 from 13,014 in 2006

• 92% were on one of the two separation grounds, one year with consent or two years without

• 7% were on the the grounds of unreasonable behaviour

• 1% adultery

• 17% of both men and women had divorced previously

• 15% of all divorces involved couples were at least one partner was aged 20 or under when they married

• 15 years was the median duration of the marriage


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