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Family arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic

At Taylor Walton, we have a specialist family law department to help guide you through a wide range of issues, whether you have already formalised your separation and need some assistance as a result of a change of circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic or whether you are at the start of the process but wish to make progress.

If you are considering a divorce, the Courts Service have an online portal which can be used to commence divorce proceedings. Whilst we expect some delays in processing applications for divorce as a result of Court staff transitioning to new working arrangements, the portal remains available for use at the current time. If you are concerned that a change in the economic climate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your ability to reach a suitable financial agreement with your former partner, we can assist in guiding you through your options so as to maximise the benefit that you will receive from any settlement.

If you are involved in Court proceedings and have hearings listed, recent guidance has confirmed that all hearings should be dealt with remotely if possible. This could be via telephone, video conference or even on paper via negotiation with the other party. Your case should be able to progress, perhaps with an additional hearing being listed to ensure that the issues are dealt with properly, fairly and justly.

In certain situations, the law provides for financial agreements already concluded by way of Court order to be reopened if an event occurs that was unforeseeable at the time that the Court order was made (known as a ‘Barder event’). The circumstances in which it is possible to challenge a final order in this way are usually narrow in range, but it may be possible to argue that an event such as the collapse of a business due to the economic climate as a result of COVID-19 constitutes a Barder event, and therefore financial arrangements should be reconsidered.

If you have any questions, pick up the phone – we would be glad to help!

Please contact Laura Woolard or Ben Twitchen on 01582 765111 for further information.