A Guide to Doing Business in Scotland Family & Personal Law in Scotland

If you are considering setting up a base in Scotland and relocating members of your team to get your new base established, there will be a number of personal and practical factors to consider.

As a full-service law firm, we are well placed to provide legal advice on both commercial and personal issues to consider when planning a move to Scotland.

These can range from making sure you have completed the correct visa application to ensuring you have the documents you need to open a new bank account.

If you or a member of your team are planning to move with children, there will be additional factors to consider such as access to our National Health Service and education system.

Family law

Our Family Law specialists are experienced in dealing with international divorce and cases involving the relocation of children. As trained mediators and collaborative lawyers, we can also assist parties who are keen to avoid litigation and simply need some assistance in reaching an agreement with their former spouse or partner.

Our practice areas include:

  • Divorce

    We are committed to guiding you through the divorce process with dignity to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

    Divorce
  • Child Custody & Relocation

    Child residence (sometimes referred to as child custody) and contact (sometimes referred to as access) are often the most contentious issues a separated or divorcing couple must agree on.

    Child Custody & Relocation
  • Cohabitation Agreements

    Contrary to popular belief, common law marriage does not exist in Scotland (although couples that move in together and don’t legally formalise their relationship through marriage or civil partnership are granted some rights if the relationship breaks down or one partner dies).

    Cohabitation Agreements
  • Pre-nuptial Agreements

    Although nobody enters into a marriage intending to get divorced, many couples understandably prefer to prepare for the possibility of a relationship breakdown, and prenuptial agreements are fast becoming a normal part of preparing for marriage.

    Prenuptial Agreements
  • Adoption & Surrogacy

    Are you a step-parent who wishes to legalise the relationship with your partner’s child? Have you been working with an adoption agency and now been matched with a child for adoption? Are you looking to adopt a child from abroad? Whatever your situation, we are here to help you realise your dream of growing your family.

    Adoption & Surrogacy
  • Mediation & Collaboration

    Mediation offers a lifeline to many families in the midst of separation and conflict. When relationships break down and you need to sort personal matters such as child custody, property or finances, matters can often turn confrontational very quickly.

    Mediation & Collaboration

International marriage contracts

We regularly deal with international marriage contracts such as pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Having an established network of trusted international lawyers is invaluable when dealing with cross-border contracts that require taking into account the potential for competing jurisdiction.

Matrimonial law in Scotland

Matrimonial law in Scotland is very different to English Law, particularly in relation to spousal maintenance and in relation to what is included in our definition of “matrimonial property”. Scots Law excludes assets owned prior to marriage, or inherited or gifted to the parties provided such assets have remained in exactly the same form.

Accordingly, there is significant scope to protect entrepreneurial or generational wealth that was not generated through income or efforts of the parties during the marriage.

Wills & Powers of Attorney

Another factor to bear in mind when moving abroad is your continuing ability to deal with assets you’re leaving behind. In most cases, you will be advised to put in place Wills and Powers of Attorney in both the country you are leaving and in Scotland, to ensure your plans and wishes are respected if you are not available to deal with matters in person.

We recognise that a smooth transition for those relocating can have a very positive impact on the initial stages of establishing business in a new location and we are happy to assist with practical as well as legal advice wherever we can.

Our Awards & Accreditations

  • In 2016, we became one of the first law firms in Scotland to become Living Wage accredited employers.

  • Winners of Corporate & Commercial Team of the Year and Family Law Team of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards 2020.

  • Our Real Estate team won the Property Team of the Year Award at the British Legal Awards in 2018.

  • Winner of SME of the Year at the Scottish SME Awards 2017, hosted by Scottish Business Insider.

  • Highly Commended for Commercial Team of the Year at the British Legal Awards 2016.

  • We are a proud member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, a network of law firms committed to working collaboratively to reduce our environmental impact

  • In 2019, MacRoberts achieved Cyber Essentials Plus certification, a UK Government entry-level information security standard. 

  • MacRoberts holds the ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management, the most widely recognised quality management system standard in the world.

  • MacRoberts holds the ISO14001:2015 certification for Environmental Management, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to environmental awareness.

  • MacRoberts holds the ISO27001:2013 certification for Information Security, an internationally recognised security gold standard.

  • Business continuity is a critical element of the Business Management System at MacRoberts and we hold full accreditation with the ISO 22301:2012.

  • MacRoberts is a member of IP Inclusive, a network of intellectual property professionals working to make our community more equal, diverse and inclusive.

  • We are active members of the PRIME Programme – an organisation that focuses on ensuring a career in law is open to talent from all economic and social backgrounds.

  • MacRoberts supports the Scottish Business Pledge, a values-led partnership between Government and business that is based on boosting productivity and competitiveness through fairness, equality and sustainable employment.

  • We are supporters of the Partnership for Change, a network of organisations and individuals who share a common ambition to improve diversity on boards and in senior leadership.

  • MacRoberts is a Disability Confident employer, and are committed to disability equality across our firm.

  • MacRoberts fully supports flexible working practices and supports family-friendly working practices.

  • MacRoberts became a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme in 2018.

  • MacRoberts is a member of The Glass Network, Scotland's organisation for LGBT+ allied legal professionals.
  • MacRoberts is a longstanding member of Scotland Food & Drink, the leading trade association for Scotland's food and drink industry.