Separation and Divorce during Lockdown

4th May 2020 - Chloe Dutton

Self-isolating with your family? Tough enough. Self-isolating when you’re in the middle of separating? Practically impossible, or so you might think…

Whether you’re wrangling joint custody of kids at home, or negotiating the matter of selling up and finding somewhere else to live, separating a shared life together is a challenge nobody expects to have to face; but the reality is, over 40% of all marriages end in divorce.

Most who get divorced haven’t done so before, and divorce remains shrouded in stigma associated with acrimony, huge legal fees and stress. But it really doesn’t have to be that way and thankfully, there is a big shift happening in family law; although it hasn’t really hit the media yet. More and more couples recognise divorce as a shared problem which results in a much more amicable process for many.

Coronavirus might currently be dictating the vast majority of what we can currently do but it doesn’t have to stop you from taking the first steps towards your new future. Here at GHW Solicitors we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below to hopefully help put your mind at ease but if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us.  

FAQ:

Can I start a divorce during lockdown?

Absolutely- The main divorce suit is dealt with separately to the finances or separation of assets. The divorce itself is generally a paper exercise and there is usually no need to attend court. While staff shortages may mean slower turn-around times there is no reason to suspect that your divorce will not otherwise go ahead as anticipated.

How do I instruct a solicitor during lockdown?

You are welcome to call us, email us or contact us through our Social Media. Our solicitors can take instructions over the phone or we can also be available for Video Conferencing if preferred.

I am going through a divorce, should I crack on and deal with the finances?

It depends. Consider whether now is the best time to settle: there is huge volatility in the market and it is difficult to put valuations on assets. Consider how you might structure your settlement: would it be sensible to think about percentage sharing rather than providing a fixed lump sum? Think about sharing each type of asset class so that each of you are bearing the risk. Even when an agreement is reached market volatility can mean longer implementation times, especially when a deal relies on the sale of property. There is a great deal to think about here and talking to a solicitor is a good idea.

Will court hearings be cancelled?

The courts are closed apart from urgent work but they are still dealing with hearings via Skype. There are also numerous other ways to deal with matters apart from court hearings for example, mediation and arbitration and these can also be done without face to face contact.  

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