Financial & Legal News

Divorce and how to get the best financial settlement

  • Posted on

Time at home usually leads to a traditional spike in divorce cases, days after Christmas or the summer holidays, but life as we know it has been very different this past year and lockdown has led to changing circumstances for everyone.

“The challenges brought since March 2020 may lead to a spike in the number of couples further down the line wanting to divorce primarily due to a prolonged period of lockdown, childcare issues, concerns around employment and financial pressures, but I think locally people are being a bit more pragmatic and although we hear about national spikes we are seeing a reasonably consistent number of new cases,” said divorce and family law solicitor Karen Kenyon.

“Maybe the uncertainly has made some people think twice and perceived practical difficulties in obtaining legal advice during lockdown has meant that some couples have delayed moving matters forward, but once lockdown ends and life begins to get back to normal we expect the impact to be felt.”

Divorce and Financial Settlements

Remote meetings have been effective and worked well in many cases but these can sometimes be problematic to arrange when both parties are living in the same house.  With the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the impressive roll out of the vaccine programme face to face meetings can be conducted safely.

“Already tentative queries are coming in ahead of the late spring opening up of all services, in these times of economic uncertainty any financial awards or settlement might be lower than they would otherwise be in normal economic times, so there are a lot of questions for divorce and family law solicitors to answer,” added Karen.

It is however important to bear in mind that even if you were to take the decision to divorce today, any financial settlement or award reached will be based on the value of the assets as they then are. If there are fully contested financial proceedings, the final hearing is likely to be in more than 12 months’ time when the economic landscape might be different.

Divorced couples looking to sell or buy properties at the moment can benefit from the Government’s Stamp Duty holiday, currently extended until the end of June 2021, but there is a warning from Karen:

“We are advising that clients exercise caution as there could be real risks and difficulties in selling or buying houses before a divorce is finalised, in particular where the couple has not yet reached and ratified an overall financial agreement i.e. dealing with pensions and other matrimonial assets.”

“Some clients have asked if they can get divorced or if they should put things on hold. Of course it is still possible to obtain a divorce and also reach a financial settlement with your spouse, although we are telling our clients that it is likely that the divorce process itself will take longer than usual as there are backlogs due to temporary closures at Court and staff shortages.”

Putting things off until lockdown restrictions are eased or the pandemic is over could present risks, as well as prolonging an already difficult situation for many families. Such risks range from the impact on the physical and mental health of individuals and this can impact on the finances, as well as changes to the value of assets including property prices.

The impact of lockdown on families

Lockdown has put a strain on many families but it is worrying for those who are experiencing or have experienced any form of domestic abuse at the hands of their partner or spouse. We have had spouses say that as part of their divorce, unreasonable behaviour particulars, or as part of Children Act proceedings, that their other half is flouting the COVID restrictions and not sticking to the lockdown rules eg visiting other households, staying over with their new partner.

Clearly, there are indications that couples are cooped up together in homes and this has led to increased strain in relationships. For better or worse the pandemic has forced us to put a giant magnifying glass over our relationships and marriages. A lot of the problems would have existed pre-pandemic, such as money issues or childcare, but everything seems to have now been amplified.

Contact our Divorce and Family Law Solicitors in Oldham

As we are moving out of lockdown and children have returned to school, our family law solicitors have noticed an increase in enquiries of people wishing to contemplate the commencement of divorce proceedings.

Contacting a solicitor for the first time can often seem daunting so our family law team offer a FREE initial consultation to support you in a time of need.

For further advice call for a chat with our Divorce and Family Law Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email at family@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Karen Kenyon

Author

    How can we help?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.