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A Brave New Year? 2021 a new year for divorce

View profile for Karen Johnson
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A Brave New Year? 2021 a new year for divorce

It is fair to say that 2020 will go down in history as an horrendous year. The world has seen wild-fires, riots and murder hornets. We reached a point where we were sick of hearing about Brexit, only for the headlines to be replaced with news of a worldwide pandemic. 

There are many who have lost loved ones and we have all experienced some hardship because of the pandemic and certainly some more than others. Furlough, redundancy and businesses being unable to operate creating worries as to job security and very real financial hardships; loneliness and isolation and the stress caused in having to juggle working whilst also home-schooling children and managing child-care responsibilities. Even shopping for basics became stressful – who knew toilet paper would become such a scarce commodity?  It has also meant spending extended periods of time with those in our own household and for those in abusive relationships, this will have been particularly difficult.

So what will 2021 bring us?

As far as Coronavirus is concerned, a vaccine has been approved and is being rolled out with further vaccines showing promising results. This brings us hope that we may be able to go back to a more normal way of life. It will, however, take time to have any real impact and we cannot become complacent or expect everything to go back to normal overnight. 

Brexit still may or may not result in a no deal but hopefully, murder hornets are in hibernation (at least for the time being) and I am pleased to say my local supermarket shelves remain well stocked with loo roll.

As a divorce lawyer, every year the press refers to “Divorce Day”. This is the first working Monday of January when family solicitors are supposed to be fielding numerous telephone calls from people enquiring as to divorce and separation. The reality is not as the press may have you believe. 

Invariably we do see an increase in instructions through January and February and I suspect this year will be no different. Relationships breakdown for a number of reasons and sadly, I suspect that the pressures brought about during 2020, will have been too much for a number of relationships to weather.

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we should cherish what we have and not take our lives for granted. For some families, this will have resulted in their growing closer together. However, others will have realised that very sadly, their relationship has run its course. For those in abusive relationships, it is a realisation that just might help them feel brave enough to reach out for help and for them, separation should also represent hope of being able to live a life that they deserve, free from violence, abuse and control. 

Separation is a very daunting prospect and especially for those in abusive relationships. It raises issues such as housing, finances and the arrangements for children all of which need to be addressed at a time when emotions are running extremely high and can also raise issues of safety which need to be carefully addressed. For those contemplating leaving an abusive relationship, the most important thing to remember; you are not alone. There are numerous support agencies in addition to solicitors who are able to support survivors of domestic abuse.

Obtaining early legal advice is key. We can advise you in relation to your options and help you put together a plan which seeks to ensure your and your children’s safety as a priority whilst also ensuring that issues such as the finances and arrangements for the children are properly addressed. Importantly, we will not force you to take any step before, or until, you are ready and everything you discuss with us is in complete confidence.

As a Resolution Accredited Specialist dealing with cases concerning domestic abuse, I recognise and admire the strength that it takes to ask for help and understand the importance of practical advice tailored to my client’s circumstances. Anyone who wants help can call me on 01206 217205 for a free 15 minute initial no obligation chat. Alternatively, you can email karen.johnson@birkettlong.co.uk.

 

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