A ‘post-lockdown divorce boom’ has been predicted in the UK as the pressures of quarantine measures put relationships under scrutiny. Family law professionals have reported a significant increase in enquiries about separation since March, the causes of which often seem to stem from the intense period of lockdown this year.
Ordinarily, some couples only spend an average of 2.5 hours together per day around work, childcare, social activities and other responsibilities, and therefore the implementation of lockdown was a bit of a shock to the system. As a result, the sudden enforced close proximity seems have caused many couples to re-evaluate their relationships, or allowed underlying issues to come to the surface when previously they were hidden by the distractions of busy routines.
For couples who are used to spending most of their day apart, suddenly finding themselves stuck at home without the usual routine of social activity put enormous pressure on their relationship.
As family lawyers, we have heard the same stories over and over again as couples struggle to juggle working from home, childcare, home education, while also dealing with worries about finances, job security, living arrangements, and health concerns – and it’s really no surprise that relationships are taking the brunt of these stresses.
Unfortunately, lockdown also seems to behind an increase in issues that are often cited as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ on divorce petitions, such as alcohol and substance abuse, and addictions to pornography and online gaming. Other common causes for post-lockdown separations include lack of communication and interaction, lack of support with children and housework. In some cases, curbs on mobility and travel have also revealed extra-marital affairs, with people even breaking lockdown to visit secret partners. For others, however, the past six months have been a valuable period of self-reflection, and some couples have simply decided it’s time to go their separate ways amicably.
Whatever the situation, whether you’re married or cohabiting, making the choice to separate is a huge step, especially in the middle of the current circumstances, and it’s important to seek support and guidance before making any big decisions. Getting advice from a professional solicitor can help to outline your options, and give you some vital perspective on how to proceed in a way that is best suited to your situation.
For more information on divorce and separation, and to book a free 45-minute consultation with a friendly family lawyer, please get in touch at www.franceslindsay.co.uk and we will do our best to take some of the weight off your shoulders.