Divorce & COVID-19: how the outbreak will impact your divorce proceedings - Kuits Solicitors Manchester
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Divorce & COVID-19: how the outbreak will impact your divorce proceedings

Divorce & COVID-19: how the outbreak will impact your divorce proceedings

12th May 2020 - Published by Kuits family team

My divorce had already started before the lockdown…what happens next?

The Family Court is still functioning and most solicitors firms are operating remotely with little to no change in their service.  You may, however, find that the court process slows down as the court prioritises urgent cases amid staff shortages and the challenges of trying to run remotely.

Many people are concerned about how lockdown is impacting on their financial position and a commonly asked question is whether financial remedy claims should be put on hold until the post-COVID-19 future is looking more certain.  Each case will need to be assessed on its merits, but the following principles will apply:

  • Have you and/or your spouse actually been financially impacted by the pandemic?  In other words, have you experienced direct loss to your income, etc.?
  • What sort of difference is any financial change likely to have on the overall outcome of your case?
  • How long is it likely to take to get things back to normal, and what impact will that delay have on you as an individual?

There will be some families for whom the pandemic is taking an enormous toll on their personal lives, but actually would make little difference to the outcome of their financial settlement.  In those cases, it is almost certainly worth progressing matters if possible.

It is impossible to say how and when we will recover from current circumstances, and what the economy is going to look like post-lockdown and into the near future.  Can both parties afford to wait potentially 12 months or more before starting to consider how to deal with their finances following divorce?  Is it necessary and/or desirable to wait?  At what point in the future will both parties be satisfied that things are “back to normal”?

If both parties want to progress their financial claims, it is possible to achieve this using alternative dispute resolution in order to avoid the delays currently besieging the courts.

All urgent financial cases are still being dealt with as appropriate; for example, in relation to interim maintenance cases, injunctions and enforcement.

Can I apply for divorce during lockdown?

Yes, you can.  You do need to have an original copy of your marriage certificate in order to petition for divorce, and if you do not have a copy you will need to obtain one from the Registrar.  Many Councils are not presently dealing with requests for marriage certificates for the purpose of divorce.  Therefore, you may find that you need to delay your petition until this service is available.

In urgent cases, it may be possible to seek the court’s permission to issue a petition without the marriage certificate.

If you would like confidential advice on applying for divorce or continuing to progress your divorce during the COVID-19 outbreak, speak to Manchester divorce solicitor Madelaine Hailey on 0161 838 7824 or by emailing madelainehailey@kuits.com.

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