Couples who have only recently decided to separate may find themselves having to self-isolate with their former partner which will no doubt be very difficult and stressful.
They may also feel concerned that the formal aspect of the separation may have to be put on hold for some months. Below are some suggestions that may improve the situation.
Practical tips to prepare for a more cooperative divorce
- Communication is essential, although it may sometimes be difficult, as this will enable both parties to establish a routine and agree on ground rules which in turn will ease tension in the home.
- It is recommended that you each should try to find a few moments during the day to relax and talk to friends.
- Both parties should try to be understanding and respectful of their former partners feelings as this will lead to a less acrimonious and more cooperative divorce or separation and will in turn assist in cooperative living arrangements whilst lockdown is ongoing.
- Consider whether it would be a good idea to write up a list of how you are going to share the cost of financial expenses to avoid arguments over who pays for what.
- Also try reach an agreement over who is going to do what chores and tasks about the house.
- Set rules and boundaries and stick to them – sleep in different rooms; work in different rooms, if you can, so you can keep out of each other’s way.
Proceeding with a separation and divorce during covid-19
If couples decide that they wish to move forward and formalise a separation, there are alternatives to the Court process which couples may be more open to consider at this time.
This is similar to court proceedings but can be more efficient as parties are not subject to as many delays. They are conducted by specialist lawyers who, after hearing all the evidence, will give a decision that the parties are bound to. There is a strong adversarial element to this process, like the court process, but both parties can choose the arbitrator and there is less delay. At present arbitrations are conducted via video link.
Private dispute resolution hearing
This is less adversarial as the “Judge”, who is chosen by both parties from a list of specialist independent lawyers, will conduct the process in a conciliatory way. The “Judge” will give a reasoned indication as to a settlement to encourage parties to reach an agreement. The Judge cannot make a binding order in this process, but the aim is that expensive trials are avoided. The national guidance from the President of the Family Division is that “Parties should be encouraged to have their Financial Dispute Resolutions (FDRs) done privately. Such private FDRs should routinely be done remotely.
Traditional court process
The more traditional ways of resolving financial disputes such as through solicitors’ negotiations and the Court process are still available, albeit remotely.
Should couples find themselves in a position where they are anxious about whether to proceed with formalising the separation, the finances arising from the separation and arrangements for the children, please do give the Clarion Family Team a call to discuss your concerns and get some advice.
We can talk you through the options that are currently available and what will be most suitable for you in your circumstances. We can also put you in contact with the right practitioners who can carry out processes remotely for you.
Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.