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LEGAL


How will the coronavirus pandemic effect family law?


By Dodds Solicitors


As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increases rapidly, we are clearly in unprecedented times, and there is no knowing for definite how the virus will impact family law. That being said, it is important to consider what impact the virus could have on family law cases, the court systems and family lawyers. In practical terms, there will be disruption to case


progression with client meetings and court hearings being delayed or taking place remotely by telephone or Skype to reduce interaction among professionals and clients.


‘With families spending increasing amounts of time at home together there will be inevitable strain on relationships’


Many businesses are taking a sensible approach and


encouraging remote working which will be important as this method will help ensure family law cases can still progress and reduce the spread of the virus. The virus will undoubtedly have an impact on financial settlements in divorce, with share prices plummeting, businesses struggling, and with many at risk of losing their jobs which may cause a depletion in savings, it is a worrying time for all. With this in mind,


lawyers may begin to advise clients to delay accepting a financial settlement which may be disadvantaged due to the potential impact on the economy and individual wealth. It may be that there is a freeze on non-urgent cases


being issued with the courts, or some cases which would ordinarily be considered urgent no longer being urgent. For example, courts may not feel there is a necessity


to adjudicate on some cases which involve an international element, such as a case where a parent seeks the court’s permission to take a child on holiday to an infected destination abroad. During this pandemic, the courts and family law


practitioners may have no choice but to focus resources on only dealing with cases where there are significant child welfare concerns, or where there is an immediate threat of danger to an involved party, or where matters demand urgent attention. With families spending increasing amounts of time at


home together there will be inevitable strain on relationships leading, potentially, to an unfortunate increase in separations and divorce as a consequence. There has been a large surge in China of divorces after their time in isolation at home. We can only hope that the coronavirus can be


contained relatively quickly, and that the necessary measures to help the containment are short lived.


business network April 2020


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