Unfortunately one of the side effects being experienced worldwide as a result of this covid-19 pandemic, is a significant increase in the number of divorces, directly linked and as a result of the current lockdowns being experienced.
As expert divorce solicitors Guildford we can help you with advice at this emotional time and help guide you through the process and what you are able and unable to do at this time.
Your actual Divorce.
With the new social distancing rules now fully in effect, and all but 'essential' travel allowed, the courts will not be open to the public for cases to be heard. The Courts deal with people from all over the UK and as such have a duty of care to ensure they are handling this pandemic efficiently for both their staff and also for all visitors to their establishment. As your divorce is basically a law suit it needs to be heard by a judge to be finalised, but with the courts closed it is unlikely these proceedings can be conducted. There will be a delay across all aspects of a divorce for the time being - from the actual filing of the divorce, any hearings that need to take place and the final judgements to be heard. The Courts are dealing with some cases by video calling, but are obviously unable to deal with all cases in this way, so unless there are mitigating circumstances to hearing yours it may unfortunately be a little while before it can be heard. They are trialling of technology for more complex situations is constantly being updated and being rolled out - but will not happen overnight. Unfortunately patience is required if you are unlucky enough to be involved in one of the cases affected.
The Financial aspect.
If,as a result of this pandemic, one of you has lost your job, or been furloughed and will now be receiving less monthly income than usual, this can have a temporary impact on any financial agreements that you may have already agreed between you - such as child maintenence payments. The Government has unveiled plans for the majority of workers to be able to claim a minimum of 80% of their wage (to a max of £2500), with some companies able to make up the additional 20% themselves. Each company will be in a different financial situation and you will need to contact your employer to clarify what they are able to renumerate you with. If you will be left with less income than before and it will affect your short term cash flow, i.e. to enable you to pay your bills, you will need a conversation between you and your partner to agree a temporary arrangement whilst this is ongoing, as it will be critically important to keep on top of things. As experienced divorce Solicitors Guildford we are able to discuss with you all options open to you and any benefits that a loss of job, or a reduction in salary, may make you eligible for.
Obviously part of your divorce is dividing up all the assets you have between you - this includes any savings, stocks and shares, pension investments etc. - these may currently be worth a lot less than they were a couple of months ago and negotiating 'who gets what' will become trickier as no-one can predict how long these things will take to buoy back up. In the same vein any debts that you have accrued also need distributing and, if you will now be further in debt as a result of this pandemic, you will also need a disussion over how you both plan to divide these between you.
With the schools closed you will also have the additional complication of sorting the daily childcare out between you. If one of you is currently home, either through choice or from being furloughed, it does makes the situation slightly less complicated, but if not then an agreement is needed to ensure the children can still do their e-learning from home. With all after school activities and extra curricular clubs currently suspended it makes keeping the children entertained more difficult and does increase pressure on the parents. It needs to handled sensitively and both parents are required to take a turn in helping to keep them both up to date with school work and also to ensure their daily needs are met. A little flexibility between you both, when a routine and schedule you have both worked hard to maintain needs adjusting, is to be encouraged.
It is vital that you put your children front and centre of any decisions that need to be made and with their welfare being of paramount importance to all of you. During this time it is important to remember that at some point in the future your divorce will be finalised and you will no longer be married to each other, but you will always be co-parents to your children. How you act now around them will be a lasting memory for them and they will thank you in the future if you can be civil with each other and put their best interests first. Being flexible towards possible changes instead of combative will have lasting rewards for both your relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse and also with your children. If you have a partner who will not discuss these issues with you and/or is being uncooperative then contact us and as experienced divorce solicitors Guildford we can help you negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution.
During this unprecedented pandemic with the Covid-19 virus it is important that you are both on the same page regarding you and your families safety. If the children are being moved between homes are you both observing social distancing etc? If one of you, or the children become affected it is likely that you would all become exposed to the virus too. Open and honest communication is key here to maintaining everybody's safety and ensuring converstaions of a sensitive nature can be held without becoming combative.
For any divorce solicitors Guildford queries you may have we are here to help you. We will help you to navigate through all the information and options open to you.
Call us on 01483 826470 and let us start helping you today.