Since the start of the pandemic, we have all been bombarded with national lockdowns, local lockdowns, tier systems and countless restrictions. Government guidelines and advice can be confusing at times and many individuals are facing relationship trouble and family law issues. This has not been helped by the continued and what appears to feel like the never ending lockdown that we in Wales have been subjected to prior to Christmas.
The restrictions on interactions outside of the home and the financial pressures caused by the pandemic can have an adverse effect on not only spouses’ relationships but the family as a whole. This can be particularly difficult if children are involved as there has been very little support for families in such a position, although the return to school may well see some improvement in such situations.
Can I still get divorced during lockdown?
The Court system has adapted well to the pandemic and matters are being dealt with remotely for the most part. A focus has been made to applications being made via portals to help with efficiency as it enables many judiciaries to access the information and limits the risk of matters being stalled due to people having to remain at home without access to work during lockdowns.
The process for divorce has remained the same and there is nothing stopping someone who requires a divorce from doing so.
How is going through a divorce different during lockdown?
Should there be a need to be involved in Court proceedings whether that be in relation to financial matters or children matters connected with a separation, the Court has set up its own secure video platform to enable remote hearings to take place, and most hearings now involve remaining in your home as opposed to attending at a Court building. This is providing some comfort to our clients as they are able to be more relaxed in their own home or private space without feeling the expected stress of being in a Court building
Read more on what to expect from remote hearings:
Consideration of the impact of the pandemic in financial proceedings
It is important that when parties are considering the separation of their finances that they are able to assess what they have now and what they will likely have in the future. Furlough and the unknown in relation to employment positions has meant that consideration has to be given to whether dealing with finances now is in the best interests of a party or whether there should be a period of consideration whilst matters remain uncertain. We will, of course, guide anyone through this process.
One matter that has arisen since the pandemic is the impact on someone’s earnings, whether that be by way of pay reduction or redundancy. In such instances, especially if there are maintenance orders, then there is a need to review the situation whilst having an eye on what may happen to earnings moving forward. If you are in a situation where you are the subject of a maintenance order which may need to be reviewed, one of our specialists will be able to assist.
Read more on the impact of coronavirus on spousal maintenance orders: https://wendyhopkins.co.uk/the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-spousal-maintenance-orders/
For the most part, the Court is trying not to focus on ‘Covid valuations’ as this is part of many factors that will be considered and may well easily change. As can be seen, by UK budget 2021, there continues to be relief packages provided to companies who are in need and this will form part of any discussions around dealing with parties’ finances where appropriate.
What is the first step I need to take to start divorce proceedings during lockdown?
The first step is deciding whether you are ready to start the process of bringing your marriage to an end. That is no different whether it be pre or post lockdown. Whilst it can be a difficult time for many, we are here to try and make the process as pain-free as possible. Contact us to speak with our divorce experts.
T: 029 2034 2233
Author: Rebecca Knight