Family Law Save your energy for the good times

Our team specialises in providing a professional and compassionate approach to Family Law.

  • Proven track record
  • Friendly and approachable
  • Specialists in all areas of family law
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Our greatest asset Compassionate family law specialists

At Simpson & Marwick, our family law team delivers for our clients in the good, and the more challenging, times in their lives. No matter the issue, we take the time to understand your needs and offer solution-based advice enabling you to move forward in the most cost-effective manner.

Our solicitors are affable, approachable and accessible – when you need us. We thrive in a culture where our clients trust our advice and do not carry apprehensions about speaking to a lawyer. We value our clients’ time more than our own and pride ourselves on meeting our clients’ needs on a daily basis, offering them genuine value for money.

Group 6729

Family law specialists

We specialise in all areas of family law, whether that be at the outset, during or the end of a relationship. When relationships end, we guide our clients through these uncertain times and resolve challenging disputes relating to money and children in a sensitive manner, always focussing on the best interests of the child involved. We pride ourselves on our record of resolving matters efficiently by way of negotiated agreement but when that is not possible, we are experienced in court actions both in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session. In all scenarios, clear, sensible, and pragmatic advice is essential so you make informed decisions and plan for your future effectively.

Providing peace of mind

Family law should not just be a distress purchase – an important part of our role is helping people plan for their future. We are regularly instructed by our clients to prepare pre-/post-nuptial, cohabitation and pre-purchase agreements. Whilst some may not consider these agreements to be the most romantic of topics, we find them vital in allowing couples to plan for life’s unexpected turns, and whilst we take pride in our drafting, we of course hope these agreements will simply sit in a drawer, like an insurance policy, offering our clients peace of mind. Many of the most complex financial disputes we see following separation could have been avoided by couples taking advice earlier in their relationship.

Arranging a consultation

No matter your circumstances, the most important thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge allowing you to make decisions on a fully informed basis. That is what we are here for and to assist you initially, we offer a fixed-fee consultation where you can meet with one of our specialist family law solicitors to discuss your situation. At these meetings, we regularly see people who are contemplating separation, have suddenly been thrust into separation or who have been separated for many years. In every case, we will form an action plan to take forward and address any other questions you may have, for example, alternative modes of dispute resolution and the likely costs involved in progressing matters which undoubtedly causes concern for people when engaging a lawyer. We can accommodate meetings via telephone or video call, or in person at any of our offices – the important thing is you feel comfortable and relaxed so you can leave the meeting with a clearer picture of your next steps.

Learn more Family law questions answered

Whilst some people choose to proceed without taking legal advice, the most important thing you can do following separation is make decisions on a fully informed basis.  Consulting with a specialist family lawyer is essential to doing this.

When it comes to any children of the relationship, the best course of action is always to try to come to an agreement as to when they will see each parent.  A healthy loving relationship with both parents should be encouraged.

If this cannot be agreed, mediation from a specialist family mediator may assist in breaking down barriers preventing parental agreement.  Mediation can be a positive step by both parties in committing to work together in the interests of any children, and setting aside their differences for that purpose.

As a last resort, a court action can be raised where a judge or sheriff will be asked to determine what is in the best interests of each individual child and the parties will be ordered to implement and adhere to that decision going forward, whether they are happy about it or not.

The starting point to any entitlement on divorce is assessing the extent of the ‘matrimonial property’.  Matrimonial property is all property acquired between the date of marriage and the date of separation, subject to any gifts or inheritances from third parties which have not changed form during the marriage.

Once all the individual assets have been identified, they require to be valued at the date of separation.  Thereafter, the liabilities are deducted from the assets leaving the net ‘matrimonial pot’.

In Scotland, matrimonial law provides for each party receiving a ‘fair share’ of the matrimonial pot, a fair share in the first instance being considered an equal share.  There are, however, arguments which can be advanced to justify an unequal division of the matrimonial pot, for example, if one party sacrificed their career to look after any children of the marriage, or where pre-marital property was used to purchase an asset during the marriage.  Consulting a family lawyer allows you to explore these issues and receive legal advice specific to your circumstances.

In Scotland, divorce is the final step of the separation process.  Divorce is granted by a court when the court is satisfied all financial and child related matters arising from the separation have been dealt with.  In the majority of cases, this will be achieved by way of negotiation and agreement between the parties, but if this is not possible, a court will be asked to make a decision on these issues.

If matters are agreed and both parties consent to the divorce, the court can grant divorce one year after the date upon which parties separated.  In absence of consent, the parties must wait until two years after the date of separation, following which consent is not required.

A party may raise an action for divorce within the first year of separation if the action is based on the other party’s unreasonable behaviour, or adultery, but again, the court will expect the finances and child issues to be resolved before granting the divorce.  This behaviour will also require to be corroborated by a supporting witness before divorce is granted.

It is always considered better, if possible, for the parties to use one of the time-based grounds.  Separations are emotive enough in themselves, without the grounds of divorce in the court action adding further fuel to the fire.

It is challenging to provide accurate fee estimates at the start of the process as often there are so many unknowns as to how a case may progress.  Often this can be very different from how it may be projected at the outset. After the initial meeting with the solicitor, the anticipated fees and outlays will be set out as clearly as possible, together with the charge out rates for the individuals who will be working on the case, to provide clarity going forward.  Where possible, we can discuss a fixed fee; otherwise, we bill monthly so clients can keep on top of their fees and indicate at the earliest opportunity if there is a difficulty with making payment going forward.  This, so far as possible, is intended to keep fees in manageable chunks, rather than an unknown bill at the end of the matter.

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What you have to say Reviews

DJB

As my family lawyer, David has shown great professionalism, care and understanding, and has always acted in a child centric manner. He has made himself available at very short notice on request and I have truly valued his support and judgement. May 2021

MW

David worked with me on a long and complex family law case involving a divorce and child arrangements. He was empathetic, understanding, and genuinely warm throughout; but never afraid to tell me when I had the wrong idea and give me a clear, intelligent understanding of what we were doing. I could not have asked for more skill, intelligence or support, and I could not recommend him more highly. June 2021

SR

David is a helpful and extremely knowledgeable solicitor. He helped me through a difficult time and always provided sound advice with a level head putting me at ease while explaining processes clearly. A great balance of professionalism and empathy depending on circumstances not afraid to state the reality of the legal position, in conjunction with potential costs and risks. His counsel and legal support throughout my divorce, including the financial settlement, were exemplary. The outcome has enabled me to begin a new chapter in my life. I would strongly recommend his services. May 2021