Can I get divorced during the coronavirus pandemic?

Being quarantined and self-isolating is tough even for happy couples.  But for those contemplating separation or divorce, this period is even more difficult as existing tensions are magnified.  You might think that as everything seems to have ground to a halt during the pandemic that it would not be possible to get divorced, but this is not the case.  It is possible to start, and indeed conclude, divorce proceedings during this unprecedented time.

Divorce petitions and financial information can be sent by email and negotiations can be conducted by telephone / video call or email, so there is nothing that has to be done face to face.

Courts may not be operating as they usually are, but they are still dealing with paperwork and hearings can still take via video link or telephone, should they be necessary. Even in ‘normal’ times, family court judges prefer that couples seek resolution without involving the court if at all possible anyway.    If it is necessary for a judge to help a couple in agreeing a settlement or to impose one upon them, this can also be done remotely.

In fact, commencing divorce proceedings during the pandemic may well conclude more quickly than if you wait until it has passed.  The courts are currently receiving fewer divorce applications so are quieter at the moment. However, it is generally expected that they will become extremely busy with delayed, pent up demand once the crisis is over. If your case is already in the system, you will be likely to get your result more quickly than those joining the back of the queue, so to speak.

The only thing which could potentially be problematic at the current time for divorcing couples is the actual physical separation. The logistics of the immediate living arrangements following the separation will obviously need consideration, as well as of course, how any dependent children will move between the two households. Having said that, in an exception to the ‘stay at home’ rules, the government has stated that children of parents who are separated are able to move between households during the coronavirus restrictions making this element of the outcome a little easier for divorcing couples with children.

Get in touch
If you need legal advice relating to divorce and separation our experienced and friendly family law team at Penderlaw would be glad to help.  Just call us on 01872 241408 or email us