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Is COVID delaying couples from divorcing in the UK?

View profile for Melanie Loxley
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Is COVID delaying couples from divorcing in the UK?

I recently received an interesting email from a market research company. Following steady growth in 2019, it indicated that the family law sector in the UK struggled in the first half of 2020 but then slightly recovered in the second half of the year. 

Is the introduction of no-fault divorce causing delays?

The email ponders whether the long-anticipated introduction of no-fault divorce may be causing some couples to delay formalising their separation. This is due to come into force in the autumn of this year. 

It is more than understandable that couples who are separating amicably or by mutual consent would want their divorce to proceed without having to cite unreasonable behaviour or adultery. 

That being said, it often takes quite some time for couples to resolve the financial issues that arise between them upon divorce. 

Therefore, instructing a solicitor now, before no-fault divorce comes in and divorce lawyers receive a surge of new instructions, would be a very good idea. It would certainly maximise the chances of reaching a financial settlement by the time the court grants the Decree Nisi in no-fault divorce proceedings. This is the first point in time when any financial agreement can be converted into a court order and become legally binding.

Are financial problems due to COVID to blame for the delays?

The email also queries whether financial problems stemming from the pandemic may be holding back some divorces.

Again, I can see that many couples would want to be as financially secure as possible, before instigating a separation. Clearly, two homes cost more than one. There are economies to be made by living together rather than apart in terms of food, energy bills and so on. It should also be borne in mind, however, that it is likely to be in the interests of business owners and breadwinners to resolve the finances during a financial dip rather than a peak.

How our specialist divorce lawyers can advise you on the situation

There are few certainties in life and one thing we have all learned over the last 14 months is that there is definitely no certainty in the midst of a pandemic. 

One thing that you can be certain of, however, is that we have a dedicated, specialist team of divorce and separation lawyers who can give you advice on the situation you are facing. We can guide you on when the best time might be to take the next step, if you have reached the difficult decision that you cannot save your marriage.

For a free 15 minute, no obligation telephone consultation, contact me on 01206 217384 or on or any other member of our family law team.