Glossary of Terms

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The following is a useful glossary of family law related terms used in Scotland:



The date of marriage is key in providing the starting point (in most cases) for when to start calculating the marital finances to do with separation/divorce

Matrimonial Home

Can be any place provided as one for the couple to live together, can be a first and/or second home and other places such as boats, caravans etc

Matrimonial Property

Generally speaking, this is the assets that a married couple have acquired during their marriage whether just in their own names or in joint names from the date of the marriage to the date of separation. There are some exceptions for example if a property was bought for use as a family home by the couple prior to the marriage. Before working out what would be a fair way to divide up the matrimonial property on divorce any matrimonial debts are taken into account first.


This is another method of resolving disputes. There are various forms of mediation, such as “calm mediation” and “family mediation” which is part funded by the family mediation service. There are also other agencies such as “Relate” who help couples agree things without going to court. See also “collaboration”, for another alternative method to resolve family disputes which is becoming more popular.


Is a loan taken out to buy a house which is secured over the house. Loan documents are signed whereby if payments are not kept up for the loan (mortgage) then the property over which there is a “mortgage” can be repossessed by the Bank or building society who gave the loan in the first place. They can then sell the property and will use the money they get from the sale to pay off the loan and any missed payments. If there is any money left over after paying the debt (mortgage loan) that is then paid to the original owners of the house.


Is the word for an application made by a solicitor on your behalf to the court to ask the court to do something. It can be for almost anything, but most commonly it is to ask the court to make an interim order or to make procedural arrangements to progress the case. It might also be to ask the court to fix a hearing for example to decide on something.