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How is the Coronavirus pandemic going to effect my divorce and subsequent financial settlement?

The coronavirus pandemic is causing havoc around the world and tremendous uncertainty for all of us.

Such unprecedented events are causing considerable anxiety and uneasiness for those contemplating divorce or already half way through the process.

Although several courts have closed their doors there are still courts open dealing with such cases although some financial hearings have been adjourned until a date when there hopefully will be more certainty. The courts are moving towards telephone hearings and some offer video links to conduct the same. Many court staff and judges are now working remotely from home so some matters can still proceed. Our family team at QualitySolicitors Davisons are working and still able to help you with any family legal advice during this pandemic.

Yes. At a time when people are in lockdown with their spouse or civil partner things can become fraught and any unhappiness that was there before lockdown may escalate. If you no longer wish to be married or continue to be in a civil partnership then proceedings can still be issued to end the same despite the current situation. We can give you some initial advice or start the process for you.

Those who have reached an agreement but not sent any orders by consent to the court for approval may now wish to re-consider, review or put on hold doing so. This is because Coronavirus may have a substantial impact on people’s incomes, businesses, pension values and investments meaning that the value of the matrimonial ‘pot’ a couple of months ago could now have changed considerably. Once the pandemic ends finances may recover but it will depend on the type of assets in the pot as to whether the recovery will put parties in the same position they were in before the crisis erupted and therefore any previous settlement may no longer be fair. For example, if the parties agreed one of them retained the former matrimonial home and the other retained their business and most of their pension this may no longer be a reasonable agreement as the business may fold and the pension could depreciate in value. This would then mean one party would receive most of the value of the pot leaving the other party in possible financial ruin. It is therefore important to obtain legal advice if you have already agreed a settlement or prior to entering into settlements at this time.

Yes but please take into account the advice above. The courts are still processing applications and we can help you draft or negotiate any agreements. Once agreed they are known as consent orders.

Yes although the courts are putting many financial applications on hold for the time being. First direction hearings may still take place by telephone. However Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearings are being adjourned. If you still wish yours to proceed some barristers chambers are offering a service whereby private FDR’s can be set up or dealt with by other remote facilities. If you need further information on issuing court proceedings or need advice on a current matter please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you about the process and the options you have.

If you do not want the divorce but do wish to regulate finances between you and your partner you may wish to enter into a separation deed which can still include any settlement agreed between you either as an interim or final position. If it is a final agreement then we would advise you to enter into a clean break consent order as and when Decree Nisi is granted in any subsequent divorce and we can advise you further if you need advice regarding this.

 

We are here to help

This is a testing time for everyone and we are here to guide and advise you with any family problem you need help with whether it be divorce, finances, children matters or domestic abuse.  Please contact our family team who will be happy to help you in these uncertain times.

Author

Jane Flemming
Associate Solicitor
Sutton Coldfield
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