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Resolution's Good Divorce Week highlights the importance of seeking timely advice

View profile for Sam Miles
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As members of Resolution, we are pleased to support the organisation once more in their annual Good Divorce Week campaign, running this year from 30th November until 4th December, particularly at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has led to additional strain on relationships in recent months.  Sam Miles, Partner and Head of our Family Law team, explains more about the campaign and details the appropriate steps to take should you be considering divorce or separation.

Who is Resolution?

Resolution is a network comprised of family professionals such as lawyers working together to allow everyone access to legal advice regarding family issues.  There is a strict Code of Practice that Resolution member firms are required to follow, ensuring a non-confrontational approach to family and children matters that enables families to prioritise the welfare of any children involved. 

“Part of Resolution’s work has also been in lobbying Government for change in family law regulation,” explains Sam.  “Their involvement in the recent Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was well documented, with the Bill hoping to introduce no-fault divorces in 2021.  Amongst other changes, the Bill will allow irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the grounds for divorce, therefore creating another option aside from those associated with blaming one party, such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  Of course, this may not be applicable for all situations of divorce, however for some it is hoped that this will lead to less conflict as that initial feeling of hostility has been removed.” 

Until the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill becomes legislation in 2021, the current grounds for divorce remain as follows:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Separation for two years with agreement on both sides
  • Five years separation
  • Desertion of more than two years

How has coronavirus impacted divorce?

Unfortunately, the coronavirus has led to an increase in couples seeking to separate or divorce.  According to Citizens Advice, searches online for divorce guidance have risen since April, with September seeing a 25% increase. 

“Couples who may have already had marital problems have seen these worsen during lockdown as they are forced to spend more time together, support their children with the change in their routine and home schooling, adjust financially if furlough leave or redundancies have taken their toll, as well as face the uncertainty that the pandemic has caused,” explains Sam.  “While some families and couples may have been brought together by such an environment, in others it has led to more confrontation.”

Can I still apply for divorce during covid-19?

While the coronavirus pandemic has changed how many of us are living and working, divorce applications can be made, with Courts applications still proceeding, hearings being conducted virtually, and we are still offering advice to our clients either over the phone or using video conferencing.

“Good Divorce Week this year focusses on the importance of getting early advice, which in some situations can lead to a more amicable separation and subsequently a more harmonious platform to facilitate conversations about the future,” continues Sam.  “We appreciate that deciding to divorce will be an incredibly difficult one to reach, particularly when you have children.  We can offer you confidential and friendly advice not only on the options regarding the divorce and the subsequent impact on any finances or children arrangements, but we can also advise on the practical next steps involved in moving forward.”

How can Family Mediation help?

Once you have decided the divorce, following the application it may become clear that further agreements cannot be reached, such as arrangements for your financial matters or your children.  In this situation, again seeking early advice is key to understanding your options, which would include Family Mediation.  This form of resolution offers couples a neutral environment with an independent third party, with Resolution providing the appropriate accreditations in support of mediation’s proven success in reducing conflict. 

Sam concludes, “We are proud to be members of Resolution and abide to their Code of Practice which ensures we not only assist our clients in reducing the confrontation that can exist in these matters, but we will also act with honesty, integrity and objectivity, listening to our clients and ensuring they feel heard during proceedings, while also helping them understand the long-term financial and emotional impact of any decisions they make.  By offering this service, our clients can be sure they are making the best decision for them and their family.”

If you are considering separation or divorce and you are looking for advice on the next steps, you can contact Sam or a member of the Family team by calling 023 8071 7431 or emailing family@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.