With couples spending more one-on-one time with each other than ever before, the pandemic has, unsurprisingly, resulted in increased levels of enquiries regarding family law disputes, including divorce and disagreements relating to children. However, the sheer volume of enquiries, particularly those relating to separation and divorce, has surpassed expectations and shows no sign of slowing down.
A recent article by The Independent revealed that enquiries at one of the UK’s largest family law firms almost doubled when comparing January-March 2021 to the same period in 2020. 75% of those polled revealed that prior to the covid crisis, there were no tensions in the family.
Not only have couples had to deal with all the life changes thrown up by the pandemic, many are now dealing with the breakdown of their relationship. The end of a relationship is extremely stressful, but there are ways to make sure the divorce proceeds as smoothly and amicably as possible:
Talk with your partner. If you can do this, then you can try and maintain a positive relationship. If you find it too difficult to talk one-on-one, then mediation might be a good starting point for you.
2. Shield the children
If you have children, it is vital that they do not see, hear (or overhear) you argue or bad-mouth each other. As their parents, it is for you both to ensure that they know their relationship with you will be protected, even though the family dynamic is changing. Where appropriate, involve the children in discussions about arrangements for them to spend time with each parent e.g. sharing of school pick-ups and time at weekends.
3. Take legal advice
Understanding what claims you and your partner have against one another on divorce is extremely important. This will enable you to cover all the issues when discussing and agreeing a way forward. It also means that you will know whether what you’re potentially agreeing to is (or is not) in your best interests.
4. Get support
Separating from a partner is difficult and takes an emotional toll. It is important that you don’t deal with it all on your own. Talk to friends and family who can help you process your feelings. Counselling can also help if you don’t feel able to talk to friends and family.
5. Discuss the divorce
Talk about who will start the divorce, what fact will be relied upon and what will be written in the divorce petition. There are currently three main options:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation (2 years with consent or 5 years without)
We are currently waiting on rollout of the new no-fault divorce process which is expected to be available from Autumn-2021. This will provide separating couples with a new divorce process designed to avoid the need for naming one spouse as at fault for the breakdown of the relationship.
How can Tozers help?
For further help or information about anything mentioned in this article, or to talk to one of our dedicated Family team, visit their hub page.