Hidden family costs of a COVID-19 lockdown

Every January, the tabloid newspapers have headlines about ‘Divorce Day’ and the apparent number of people rushing to the courts immediately following the Christmas and New Year break.  

We know the headlines are not entirely true. Undoubtedly though the pressures of family confinement, sometimes forced jollity, and often a liberal dose of alcohol at Christmas time can bring simmering tensions to boiling point in lots of households. It is not unusual for us to get a lot of enquiries in January but, of course, they do not all lead to divorce. 

The same happens in September when summer holidays are over and the children are back at school. Sometimes people will tell us ‘new term, new beginnings’. 

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a bit different. For a start, it seems to have gone on forever and, in many people’s eyes, long after it probably needed to. Others think that the lockdown should have been fiercer and longer. What happens when you have different views in the same household though? 

During lockdown, we have given quite a lot of advice to husbands and wives who have found a moment to call us from areas of the house when their spouse is downstairs. People feel trapped in every sense of the word and the pressures of Christmas or summer holiday are nothing compared to the pressures that lockdown has placed on some families. 

In many countries across the world, the easing of lockdown has brought a significant spike in divorce enquiries. The UK is no different. As we get back to whatever normal is going to look like in future, we are receiving many enquiries from people who want to know where they stand. They may not decide to take action now – or even at all – but the uncertainty of what separation might bring is an added tension that a lot of people could well do without in these difficult times. 

Getting good advice at an early stage can help to avoid having pointless arguments and can make everyone feel better informed and therefore more equipped to deal with the difficult conversations that a pending separation can bring. 

We offer a free initial telephone conversation to potential clients. You do not have to have made a firm decision yet. Even if it is just something that you are thinking about at the moment then why not let us help to reassure you about where you stand legally? Our interest is always in helping clients move from an unhappy situation to a better one and we would be very happy to chat to you if you would like to give us a call.  

I can be contacted on 01206 217320 or philip.hoddell@birkettlong.co.uk.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.