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What Is the “Relevant Date” in Divorce Law and Why Is It Important?

This blog will outline what the “relevant date” is and why you need to know when it is.

If you are considering a divorce, the “relevant date” will play a pivotal role both in terms of the divorce itself and any financial settlement that follows. So the question is, what is it? For reliable, tailored advice, speak to our team of experienced solicitors today on 0141 478 9090.

What is the “Relevant Date” in Scots Divorce Law?

The “relevant date” is defined under Scottish legislation. It is defined as the earlier of:

(a)    The date when you and your ex-partner ceased to cohabit as man and wife.
(b)    The date of service of the summons in action for divorce.

In practice, the “relevant date” for most couples is the date when you and your partner have separated. However, what you see as the date of separation and what is considered the date of separation in the eyes of the law can differ.

At Kee Solicitors, we will work out exactly when the relevant date is according to the specifics of your case.

Why is the “Relevant Date” Important When Getting a Divorce?

Firstly, the relevant date can significantly affect when your divorce takes place. For example, if you are seeking a no-fault divorce on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown following a period of separation, the “relevant date” can be crucial.

For example, if you have separated on the 1st of February, but your ex-partner did not move out until the 1st of August, then establishing your “relevant date” as the 1st of February can expedite your divorce by a total of six months.

Moreover, the relevant date can have a significant effect on any financial settlement that follows. The relevant date is when a “snapshot” of each of your finances is taken, and your finances at that moment are what the Courts will take into account. This can affect negotiations, even if it is settled outside of the Court.

Only debts and assets acquired between the beginning of the marriage and the date of separation will be considered. Anything acquired before or after will not be regarded as matrimonial property and therefore will not be taken into account, although there are a few exceptions so speak to one of our solicitors for more information.

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As you can see, defining the relevant date plays a crucial role in divorce proceedings. Establishing when it took place is vital, and our team will help you work out what the Courts will accept as the date of separation so you can make your decisions with that in mind.

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