Divorce and separation rates are increasing in Scotland and relationship experts warn that the divorce and separation break up curve caused by the recent Coronavirus pandemic may not have peaked yet, with the rising cost of living now also adding to post-lockdown relationship woes.
With many households experiencing reduced disposable income to the rising cost of living crisis in Scotland, the likelihood of an unaffordable debt problem as a result of divorce increases as a result.
Many of the people that Trust Deed Scotland help with statutory Scottish debt solutions that include the Scottish Trust Deed, or Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) have cited a change in their household income as a significant reason as to why they became overwhelmed by personal debt in Scotland.
During the recent Coronavirus pandemic, Citizens Advice in England reported via the BBC that in September 2000, online searches for divorce were up 25% compared to the same date in the previous year.
Co-Op Legal Services earlier in 2020 said that couples being forced to spend more time together during the coronavirus outbreak saw an increase in divorce applications to the organisation with a 42% rise in divorce rates after the first lockdown.
While it can be hard not to let a break-up turn nasty, amicable divorce experts say separated parents must keep their contact civil for the sake of the children.
Going through a separation or divorce can be stressful at any time, never mind during a worldwide pandemic and often it means that an individual’s financial situation is affected.
Any joint debts that you hold between you and your partner will have ‘joint and several liability’.
This means that, if your partner can’t make payment to the debt, you will need to repay the full amount.
If you don’t have any joint debts you can get a ‘notice of disassociation’. This removes any financial link with your ex-partner on your credit file. To do this you need to contact one of the credit reference agencies who can remove this link.
Divorce help and advice in Scotland
As a life-changing decision, divorce isn’t easy. It can lead to loneliness, and potentially a drop in your confidence, amongst other things.
Separation often means your household income will reduce dramatically, so you may be struggling to manage your household bills along with any debts you have. However, household debts are not the only monetary issues that couples must face when looking to separate.
Where children are concerned this is obviously a key issue but there are other considerations as well such as the logistics of where both parties shall live, and what to do with joint rental tenancies or mortgages. And then, of course, any potential settlements.
Legal aid might be available to pay towards the legal costs of divorce or dissolution.
You will be assessed on the basis of how much income and savings, investments and valuables you have (not including your main home).
You might also be able to get legal aid if you receive certain benefits.
If you live in Scotland, you can check if you can get legal aid with the Scottish Legal Aid Board, or find out about help with court fees on the Scottish Courts and Tribunal website.
Divorce Aid is an independent organisation of professionals who can provide divorce advice to anyone in the UK.
Financial abuse and divorce
Financial abuse is also known interchangeably as economic abuse and both are a form of coercive control. Financial abuse may be part of the reason why a couple divorce and like other forms of domestic abuse, it is feared that financial abuse may have increased during the extended period of lockdown.
Financial abuse can be described as the control that one person holds over another economically.
While financial abuse is most frequently committed by a partner – a family member or other party known to the victim can use coercive control in this way.
Examples of financial abuse include:
- Forcing the victim to take out credit in their name
- Removing access to household/joint finances
- Controlling employment earnings and benefit entitlement
Many victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse are likely to also be suffering financial abuse.
Coercive control extends beyond separation and financial abuse may begin, continue or escalate post-separation. This can then become a factor in returning to the abuser.
Help with unaffordable debt in Scotland
As the country continues to cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis, many will need to deal with debt.
Whether you’re going through a divorce or separation, or not, Trust Deed Scotland can help you reduce the stress and anxiety caused by having unaffordable debts through these difficult times.
If you need non-judgemental debt advice or information on dealing with your debts, you can view our Scottish debt solutions guide.
Our experienced debt advice team can offer debt solutions that are tailored to your situation. You can also call us on 0141 221 0999 and speak to one of our debt advisers.