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How will coronavirus impact my divorce?

View profile for Sam Miles
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Making the decision to divorce or separate will be a difficult one for any couple, but in the current climate when we are also facing the coronavirus pandemic, self-isolation and financial concerns it can add even more strain.  Our Family Law team are complying with Government guidance by working remotely and can answer your questions and concerns regarding proceeding with your divorce, whether over email, phone or video call.  Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here the steps you can take if you do wish to file for divorce over the coming weeks and months, and whether there could be a delay due to the pandemic.

Can I file for divorce during the coronavirus pandemic?

Self-isolation will be a challenge for most couples and families, but for those who were already separated or considering the possibility of a divorce it will be even more so, particularly if there are children involved.  We are able to offer you advice as to how you can manage the coming months during isolation, and can offer you different divorce packages to suit your financial situation. 

There are currently no restrictions on beginning a divorce application.  The same eligibility criteria still apply, which includes:

  • Being married for at least a year
  • Proof that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of five reasons:
    • Adultery
    • Unreasonable behaviour
    • Continuous separation for two years with both parties agreeing
    • Five years separation with no consent required
    • Where one party has deserted the other for two years

We are still able to issue the necessary divorce applications in Court and carry out negotiations in terms of financial and children arrangements.

It will be the practicalities of your home life that you will need to give consideration to.  Ordinarily when faced with divorce, one party will usually move out of the family home.  With the current restrictions in place this may not be possible.  This means that you may need to consider different ways of sharing the home, especially if children are present, in order to minimise any conflict.

If you are required to stay together in the home, setting out some clear boundaries with your spouse will help with your own wellbeing and demonstrate good communication skills to your children to help them through the pandemic when it is likely they will already be feeling anxious and unsettled. If this proves impossible and the situation at home is placing you or your children at risk of harm, we can advise you on emergency remedies which may be available to you.

If you do not feel comfortable discussing your circumstances over the telephone due to the presence of your spouse or children in the house, you can email us to discuss the best way to communicate with you moving forward. Our video conference facilities are usually available on mobile devices meaning that we can speak to you in any safe space you are able to get to.

Will my divorce be delayed due to coronavirus?

As mentioned above, we are still able to proceed with your divorce and, while there may be a delay, the Courts are still running, albeit prioritising urgent cases where there is a risk to the health and safety of an individual. 

We can also discuss with you the wider coronavirus implications, for example in terms of restrictions on moving home, the impact on the value of assets, and regarding securing the necessary valuations or expert report.

If you are currently in the midst of your divorce and struggling to come to agreements on your children or financial arrangements, Family Mediation may be an option for you to consider.

Our Family Law team are on hand to offer you confidential, compassionate and friendly advice during this difficult time.  While we are not able to offer face to face appointments at our offices, we are working remotely and can discuss your situation with you using a communication method of your choosing, whether that be telephone, email or video conference.  To contact us today to discuss your divorce or separation and how we can help, contact us today on 023 8071 7431 or email 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.