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It is no surprise that the confines of lockdown have tested relationships and pushed those who were already struggling over the edge.

 

But with lockdown restrictions in place many husbands and wives have found it difficult to confide in their friends and family about their marriage problems, let alone seek legal advice or start a formal separation process.

 

A Spike in Divorce?

 

After some discreet enquiries over the last couple of months many divorce lawyers are expecting a full diary of first appointments this summer to help spouses navigate their separation and make a fresh start.

 

As we start to ‘unlock’ as a country, we expect many more people who put their separation plans on hold will be in touch with a solicitor.

 

This is not however a time for divorce lawyers to rub their hands together, but a time to be ready to listen and guide people through the tough decision to separate after what has been a challenging time for many families.

 

Can I Get Separation Advice Now?

 

Our lawyers have continued to work throughout this period to assist existing clients and also help guide people enquiring about family issues including divorce, children matters, finances and cohabitation agreements.

 

You can still have an initial consultation with an expert Family Lawyer which we can hold over the phone, via Skype or video conference call.

 

Courts hearings have been going ahead remotely where suitable to adhere to the social distancing rules but sessions such as mediation or collaborative divorce process are more challenging to continue with and may be on hold until lockdown measures ease.

 

There is likely to be some delays in the courts processing paperwork and carrying out hearings due to staff shortages and the fact that not all cases will be suitable for remote hearings.

 

Divorces are still attainable during lockdown and practical legal advice is just a phone call away.

 

What will Divorce be like After Lockdown?

 

The separation and divorce process will largely be the same as pre-lockdown. However, you may find that face-to-face meetings are rare, at least to start with, and more of your communication with your lawyer will be done via phone and email.

 

At Lamb Brooks we are busy getting our office ready to re-open in a way that is safe to see clients face-to-face. This will involve the use of larger meeting rooms, staggered appointments and strictly following social distancing and hygiene practices. As guidelines change and businesses get used to operating under the ‘new normal’ we will keep you updated via our website.

Considerations for Separating During Lockdown

 

If enough is enough and you find yourself in the position where you need to create some distance between you and your partner, then there are some things to carefully consider given the strange circumstances that we find ourselves in, such as:

 
  • Is it safe for one person to move out of your property?
  • How easy will it be to find a rented property or sell your house during this time?
  • What are your financial positions and job security like?
  • How has the value of your assets (e.g. shares and investments) changed since before lockdown?
  • Is it safe to move between different houses or live with another family member?
  • If you have children, how will you each spend time with them?
  • Do you need to consider childcare if your children are not in the year groups who are returning to school this week?
 

Using Lockdown Time Wisely

 

If you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands during lockdown then now may be a good time to do your research and get your affairs in order ready to make the first step to formally separating.

 

There is a lot of information that your lawyers will require. Now is a good time to get an accurate picture of your finances by getting your pensions valued, checking your property value, considering other assets and any debts that you are jointly responsible for.

 

It is also a good time to think about how you will agree on plans for your children, if you have them.

 

Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer

 

It is important to find a lawyer that you feel comfortable working with and also one that has the knowledge and expertise to see that you navigate your divorce with minimal stress and come out the other side with the best possible outcome for you and your family.

 

Take a look at reviews online, read the articles and information on law firms’ websites and ask friends or family for recommendations.

 

Instructing a full-service law firm means that other matters can be addressed all under one roof – such as selling your property or re-writing your will. So it is worth keeping in mind the other services that law firms can offer you during this challenging time.

 

Seek Advice Today

 

If you are ready to separate or just want some initial advice to see where you stand then please get in touch with our friendly and approachable team who are ready to help you find a way forward.

 

Call Rob Parker, Head of Family Law on 01256 844888, email rob.parker@lambbrooks.com or speak to our online chat assistant via our website.

 

If you are in need of legal advice but are struggling to find the time to make a discreet phone call or are worried about your partner overhearing your conversation then please let us know and we can agree how best to contact you.

 

Other articles you may be interested in reading:

Cooped-Up Couples: Is Lockdown the Final Straw?

How Covid-19 may Affect Relationships

Co-Parenting Through a Pandemic

Looking for the Best Divorce Lawyer

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.