Can I get divorced during lockdown?
- AuthorMelanie Loxley
The end of a relationship is generally a very difficult and upsetting time. For those who are in a failing relationship during lockdown, it must be even harder.
If you find yourself in this situation then here are the answers to some questions you may have:-
1. How do I get legal advice during lockdown?
At Birkett Long we offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation with a specialist family lawyer. We can discuss any immediate concerns you might have without charge or obligation.
2. How can I meet with a solicitor to get the more detailed advice I need?
We can arrange a virtual meeting with you so that you can see and speak to us and we can provide you with the bespoke advice you need. As long as you have an email address and can find somewhere private and quiet to talk, we can deal with your case just as we would at a face to face meeting.
If you do not have a suitable device or if you would prefer, we can conduct this initial meeting by telephone instead.
3. Can I get divorced if we are living under the same roof?
Yes, as long as you are living in separate households. This means that you must not be sharing the same bed, sharing meals, cooking, shopping, washing, cleaning or ironing for each other or undertaking any domestic tasks or having any social interactions that you ordinarily would as a couple.
Provided you are living separate lives, it should be possible for divorce proceedings to start.
4. Can the divorce be started during a lockdown?
The divorce court continues to function during a lockdown and at Birkett Long we can submit an online divorce on your behalf which is likely to be far quicker than the conventional paper based divorce you may be familiar with.
We also have the means of submitting financial orders to the court online so that when a financial agreement is reached, this can be converted into a court order. The court is currently processing these very quickly.
5. I need help negotiating a settlement – how do I get this?
There are many options available to you, even during a lockdown. Mediators are able to conduct virtual meetings and we can recommend and/or refer you to a local Mediator who can help. We also have 4 Collaboratively trained solicitors at Birkett Long who can arrange virtual 4 way meetings between you, your partner and their own lawyer, to try and reach an amicable agreement on all of the issues that are important to you.
Alternatively, we are still able to make an application to the court to deal with the financial issues if an agreement cannot be reached. We have experience in the virtual hearings that the court is currently conducting, should that step be necessary.
6. Would it be better to wait until lockdown is lifted?
Obviously this is a question that only you can answer. Dealing with the formalities of divorce and of agreeing on the finances is never easy and you may feel it would be better to wait until you are living separately to do so.
In the absence of domestic abuse, however, many couples do live together whilst their divorce and the related financial issues are dealt with, either because there is not enough money to do otherwise, or simply because decisions have to be made about what will happen to the house before anyone can start making the arrangements they need to.
In these circumstances, there is little to be gained by waiting for the lockdown to be lifted.
If you need help then call us on 01206 217300 to speak to a specialist family lawyer or you can contact the solicitor of your choice by emailing them directly on our website.