June 16, 2020

35% increase in divorce enquiries – but is lockdown the real cause?

With other countries coming out of lockdown, and the lockdown being eased recently in the UK, there has been a spike in new enquiries for families that wish to separate. Indeed we have seen an increase of enquiries by 35%.

More time, less haste?

Due to the unique circumstances of the lockdown period, it may be the intensity of the situation that has led to the decision to separate, and in some circumstances, it may be a decision that has been reached too hastily.

Simon Bassett, Partner in our Family team, recommends that those considering a divorce at this time try and step back from the current situation, as it may be that any issues that have surfaced are due to the stresses surrounding the situation at present. It is important to be open and honest with each other as it may be that the issues are something that you can work through with a counsellor or therapist.

There have been lots of different articles published with guidance about how to manage this challenging time, from planning a date night with your partner, putting a rota in place to deal with the weekly chores, taking daily exercise separately, or even something as simple as eating all meals at the table together without the TV on.

Children during lockdown

Of course each individual circumstance is different and understandably many families want practical advice about how to manage during this period. I’ve experienced a spike in enquiries in relation to children and how they move between households during the lockdown period, particularly if a parent or child is considered high risk.

My recommendation is that separated parents look at the CAFCASS website for support and guidance as a first step.

Whilst it is the unfortunate reality that there will be divorces and separations as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, there have also been some positives, including the universal adoption of technology to streamline the process and make access to justice more accessible through video conferencing. Many of our clients prefer communicating by video, which is more relaxed and avoids the need to travel. Divorces have also moved on-line in many cases.

If you wish to have a chat in confidence, or would like information about the support services that are available, please feel free to contact one of our solicitors.

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