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  • Writer's pictureNeil McNab

Divorce and coronavirus

The pandemic has affected all of us considerably over the past few months, and it looks set to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In many regards, life has stopped still, not least in the first few months during lockdown. Many normal aspects of life are slowly returning as lockdown eases, but not in the typical sense, and dealing with such a significant change in all our lives very much appears to be the ‘new norm’.

Divorce and separation, however, are unlikely to have slowed down, and certainly will not have stopped still. There are many commentators who believe that, in all probability, there will likely be an increase, as couples emerge from having spent significant periods of time cooped up together. Adversity always brings about its own challenges, and despite the best endeavours of both parties to the marriage, sometimes deciding that it is over is unavoidable.

It is impossible to say for sure whether that will happen, or whether any increase will be significant, but history has shown that such huge disruptions can have a knock-on effect. Afterall, the number of divorces rose by nearly 5% in 2010, and it was theorised that this was as a consequence of the financial crisis.

Equally, for every marriage that has broken down, there will undoubtedly be those whose marriage has benefited from the closeness that lockdown has brought, and the ability to reconnect. There is always a fear that during times of crises, it brings about the worst, but that need not necessarily be so. It follows that now, if not in the months since the onset of the pandemic, is the best time to sit down with your spouse to talk through any difficulties, to see if those difficulties are not so impossible to overcome.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many divorce lawyers who will be pleased to know that many marriages have solidified. We are not here to advise individuals whether their marriage has come to an end (at least in the proverbial sense); rather, we are here to help in the event individuals come to that conclusion and wish to divorce.

If you have reached that difficult and regrettable conclusion, it is still perfectly possible to apply for a divorce. The courts are still operating and, in fact, are happy to receive petitions online, which has been a hugely welcomed and warmly received development. This has not only assisted with certain logistical difficulties that lockdown measures have created, but, more fundamentally, has shortened the delays that have otherwise dogged the divorce courts in recent years. Assuming the circumstances are right, petitioning online should be considered first.

Alternatively, if you have not yet reached the conclusion that you wish to divorce, you may benefit from counselling or some other therapeutic input. If this is the case, Divorsee’s network of specialist advisers will be all too happy to discuss your circumstances with you.

The information contained in this post is for general guidance only, and does not constitute legal advice. For bespoke and tailored advice in relation to your personal circumstances, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


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