Articles from the Silver Shemmings Ash Team on contractual matters, recent case law changes and items of interest in our sectors

The Impact Of COVID On Families

March 30, 2021 | Silver Shemmings

The full impact that COVID-19 has made on families in these unprecedented times is still unknown. Only once life has returned to normal will the true figures be revealed.

The once seemingly perfect marriage has encountered all manner of strain, which may lead to separation and/or divorce and dissolution.

Where in the past, both parties had space to do their own thing, the pandemic has now robbed everyone of their freedom. Families are living on top of each other and the cracks inevitably start to appear.

In many cases, debt worries, fears of business liquidation or dissolved partnerships have arisen, which puts yet more strain on the family unit.

What was once a structured life: children in school, bills paid on time, thriving businesses, is now a life filled with debt, fear and uncertainty.

In normal circumstances, we could take a break, go to the gym, or see someone close to us for solace and to let off steam. Unfortunately, the restrictions have prevented us from even leaving the house for anything other than work and food shopping. We feel trapped and devoid of privacy. In a home where even speaking over the phone could result in eavesdropping and consequently yet another row.

The pandemic has also created difficulties with former partnership agreements. The lack of money has a knock-on effect with regard to payment and maintenance obligations to ex-partners, which in turn causes further riffs to the larger family.

The words ‘divorce’ and ‘separation’ come into play. However, families should think before they utter these words. The result can be catastrophic.

Questions start flying into the mind, such as: where will we live; how will I manage; who will the children live with – will they have to change schools and who will pay the fees. Thought needs to be put into the financial side too. Any revenue a business makes, assets, houses, savings, gifts, pensions and so on, will all need to be decided upon and split accordingly. Please also note that due to the pandemic, house prices may not be as high as you would want and selling your property could take time.

There is normally one pot of money and when it is gone, it is gone for good.

Divorce can become expensive. On top of solicitors, the case may require an accountant, a pension expert and house valuation. The list seems endless and none of the these  are free services. Thought needs to be put into how each party will fund the separation and/or divorce.

When children are involved, there is even more to consider. Where do they live? Can they change schools? How should the time be allocated between each parent?

This is snapshot of what could happen.

Usually Mediation is advised but if that is not appropriate, then court may be the only option. Do bear in mind that due to the pandemic, there is a backlog of cases, which means that it will not be a quick and easy solution.

Try and compromise as much as you can.

If you want to avoid these difficulties, then stay patient and ride out the pandemic. Perhaps try counselling, or just talk to each other.

If you are sure that your relationship is irreparable, then please contact us for assistance. We offer a free legal clinic for initial advice (Wednesdays 6pm – 8pm) along with an out of hours service  should the need arise.

Author Dean Vickery brings with him a wealth of experience in Family Law, providing advocacy services .

The areas Dean covers include divorce and civil partnership dissolution, resolution of financial disputes in divorce, injunctions and harassment and he has been involved in very contentious work both in divorce and Children Act matters


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