Lawyers Supporting Separating Couples as Lockdown Lifts
27th April 2021, 2:12 pm
Specialist divorce lawyers at national firm Clarke Willmott LLP are helping to support separating couples who have decided to split since lockdown has lifted.
Alastair MacLeod, a partner and family lawyer at the firm, says couples who remained together during home schooling and lockdown are now requiring support to enter the divorce process.
With Courts still facing significant backlogs in cases Alastair and his team are encouraging couples to consider ADR, or alternative dispute resolution, to come to an agreement without the stress of Court proceedings. These methods can include: mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.
Alastair said: “We are currently supporting a lot of clients who delayed any formal divorce or civil partnership dissolutions whilst living in lockdown limbo but who now want to get the ball rolling as restrictions lift.
“Lockdown has undoubtedly caused a strain on many relationships for varying reasons – money worries, home schooling pressure, working from home issues and just being in each other’s pockets 24/7 to name a few.
“Whilst it is still necessary for some clients to make Court applications, we are finding that many couples are open to trying ADR. These couples have kept it together, usually for the sake of children, during lockdown and want to continue this amicable approach as they move forward.”
Figures recently released by the Office of National Statistics revealed that the number of divorces completed in 2019 increased by 18% with 2020 statistics yet to be released. It is expected that the figures will reflect a further rise due to the circumstances of the past year.
Divorce is currently based on one of five reasons, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent, desertion or five years separation, with unreasonable behaviour the most common reason cited. This is set to change in the near future when a ‘no-fault’ based system is introduced meaning neither party is required to state a reason for the relationship breakdown.
Alastair continued: “The Courts are currently dealing with a backlog of cases so where it is possible to use ADR this can also avoid delay as well as the stress of court proceedings.”
Clarke Willmott has recently developed its ‘Parting Ways’ tool, a free digital toolbox available to everyone. Created by the firm’s family team, the online resource is aimed at those whose marriage, civil partnership or co-habiting relationship has broken down irreparably.
The tool takes a few minutes to complete and guides the user through a series of questions before generating a free report and route map that is tailored to their responses. It does not ask for any personal information and gives a high-level legal overview of common situations.
To find out more or to access the tool visit www.clarkewillmott.com/parting-ways
Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.