The implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced couples and families to spend much more time together than they usually would. For many, not having any break from one another and in some cases the added stress of childcare, job loss and the pandemic in general have taken their toll on relationships. In the New Year thousands of couples will be seeking to separate. Knowing where to begin with separation and divorce is hard enough, let alone with the added uncertainty of the current pandemic. Our expert Family Law department is on hand to help and provide you with some insight to help you take the first few steps with someone by your side.
Can I File for Divorce During the Pandemic?
Yes, of course. Up until the Spring of 2020 we saw significant delays from the divorce courts which were only getting significantly worse. However, the introduction of an online system for filing for Divorce means the divorce process has become more streamlined delays are being overcome. Whilst the process is online it is essential the process is understood and the legal formalities are complied with to ensure unnecessary confusion and delays are not caused. Be sure to consult your solicitor at an early stage and they will guide you as seamlessly as possible through the process.
How do Instruct a Lawyer During the Pandemic?
This will vary greatly from Firm to Firm, so definitely shop around for a process that suits you and your requirements. At Lyons Bowe, we’re currently working in a very similar way to before the pandemic. We’re paying close attention to the Government guidelines and restrictions to keep you and our employees safe. We’re able to facilitate any kind of meeting that suits you – whether face to face, over the telephone or via a video call.
What are the Financial Implications of a Divorce During the Pandemic?
As we’re all aware, the financial markets during Covid-19 have been turbulent with house prices falling and rising and the stock market fluctuating. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to the how the pandemic will have impacted on your finances and how this will be impacted further by a separation or divorce. It is worth talking to one of our Family Lawyers if you have questions about the financial impact of your separation and to find out what options are available to you. All of our departments offer a free initial consultation and we’ll all work together to get the best solution for you.
What Else do I Need to Think About?
When you are contemplating a separation or divorce it can be a very overwhelming time and it’s easy to miss things out or to drop an occasional ball. So we’ve collated a list of additional things to think about when divorcing during the pandemic:
We recommend talking to our Wills team as soon as you start divorce proceedings. The reason for this is that once your divorce is completed, any gifts to your ex-spouse become invalid. If you have appointed your ex-spouse as executor of the Will, this appointment will also be invalid.
Now that you have made the decision to end your marriage, we are sure that your priorities and those you wish to benefit from your estate, have changed. Our team of experts can guide you through the process and ensure your wishes count in the event of your death.
What About Separation?
In the case of separation, your Will remains valid. However, you may not want your spouse to be appointed as an attorney, executor or beneficiary of your Will, so it’s important that you take specialist advice about your Will and LPA’s as soon as possible.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
It is very common for spouses to appoint each other as attorneys of their LPAs. If you have appointed your ex-spouse as an attorney in your LPA, they will have to stop acting as attorney (unless the LPA specifically states that they can continue to act). LPAs cannot be amended so you will need to revoke the old LPA and draft a new one. We can help guide you through the process and help you choose a suitable alternative attorney, if needed.