Divorce in Lockdown
Jun 12, 2020
Much has been written lately about the pressures that COVID-19 has placed on families and relationships. The loss of loved ones is of course the most tragic and hard-hitting. But financial difficulties, restrictions on freedom, and working from home can also place significant strains on people.
This has been reflected in the number of recent enquiries we have had from people who are now contemplating divorce. While for some the pandemic has brought pre-existing problems to a head, as Family Law solicitors we are careful to make sure clients are not simply reacting to what we all hope will be a temporary change to the way our lives are lived.
Certain protections are in place to prevent people divorcing too quickly, or without having a good reason. There are only certain grounds on which a divorce will be granted. You would need to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down – something that can be demonstrated by adultery, desertion or (most commonly) ‘unreasonable behaviour’. Alternatively, you would need to show that you have lived apart from your partner for a sufficient amount of time – two years, if you both agree to the divorce, or five years if there’s no agreement.
However, there is another basis for divorce on the horizon. Aimed at reducing conflict, ‘no-fault’ divorce would enable people to divorce after just six months without casting blame for the breakdown of the relationship. And this could be in place very soon; there are reports that the Prime Minister is currently pushing through the law that would make ‘no-fault’ another basis on which to divorce.
Criticised by some as a ‘rushed through’ provision during a time when many relationships are less than harmonious, this change in the law could lead to more divorces. But it could also enable couples whose relationship has simply run its course to move on – in some cases far more constructively than might have been the case had they had to attribute blame or wait considerably longer.
This all remains to be seen. What is clear, though, is that Family solicitors like us will continue to support people who are going through difficult personal circumstances and to advise on the best way of resolving their issues.
To speak to us about separation, divorce or any other aspect of Family Law, contact one of our specialist solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01264 353411. We would be delighted to help you.
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