Family Law

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Coronavirus calls time on 40% more relationships

View profile for Victoria Poole
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What the statistics say

The current pandemic has a lot to answer for.

Earlier this year, divorce rates were noted to be soaring in China and the US following the coronavirus outbreak, and since the UK lockdown began in March this year, at SH&Co. we’ve seen a 38% rise in divorce enquiries and more than a 40% increase in couples starting proceedings.

Tellingly, divorce enquiries spiked in May when lockdown was in full force, up 121% compared to May 2019, and the highest number of divorce instructions were recorded in August, up 125% compared to the same time last year.

Both sets of figures buck the natural annual trends we tend to see.


The ‘norm’

As family lawyers, we frequently see a surge in divorce enquiries after Christmas and in September, after the summer holidays.

Both months follow a period of increased time spent together which often highlights and worsens the cracks in a relationship, resulting in rows and further tension. Adding the stress of playing happy families and money worries are often the final straw.

But the impact of coronavirus has taken these pressures to a whole new level.


The pandemic pressure cooker

Government measures to minimise the spread of infection have created similar but more severe situations.

Lockdowns, shielding, quarantine, isolation and household bubbles are forcing people to spend prolonged and intense time together with limited additional human contact.

But adding to this remote working, childcare, homeschooling, furlough, unemployment, financial stress, illness, strain on mental health – it’s easy to see how the balance has been tipped for some couples.


Help and support

As we all know, we are living in strange, extreme and unprecedented times.

If you are experiencing problems in your relationship or are struggling to communicated, joint counselling can be a great idea. Relationship support providers such as Relate can offer a calm, civilised and unbiased environment in which both parties can discuss and explore the issues and their feelings about the relationship.


Seeking legal advice

It’s also wise to get specialist legal advice from a family lawyer at the earliest possible stage before separation. It’s important to know where you stand legally and what choices you have, as is understanding information about family finances and negotiating a financial settlement (this is particularly vital if you are financially the weaker party).


At SH&CO, we know that making the decision to divorce can be incredibly difficult and painful, and only you can do it.

Whether you’ve made that decision for definite or not, we’re here to help you understand the process, discuss your options and clarify your position.  

If you’d like more information or just to have a chat, call us on 01606 48777 to book an appointment – we are currently offering all new Family Law clients a FREE 30-minute appointment.