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Lockdown looming: What do I do next? Family Law edition

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
21 September, 2020

Anyone who has a TV or phone will know that another lockdown is looming over our heads. Every news outlet is the same and it is not so much “IF” it is going to happen, but rather WHEN.

This will have so many ramifications for so many people, especially those who are living in an unpleasant family dynamic. There will be some who have been thinking about divorcing or getting a protective order for example, and others who are in the middle of proceedings.

But….what does another lockdown mean for you, when it comes to your family law proceedings?

If you are in the middle of proceedings, my view is that there is nothing additional that you will need to do. Your solicitor will already have a file open for you and will be conducting those proceedings on your behalf either from the office (if it is safe to do so), or from home. The courts are all operating remotely too, so if any hearings are listed, these will continue to take place either by phone or by video link.

If you are thinking about proceedings, my advice is to seek help sooner rather than later so that you can properly plan for what might come ahead, especially in terms of living arrangements, child care and/or finances.  Having a strategy in place, which you have gone through with a solicitor will help you a great deal. Family proceedings are stressful at the best of times, let alone if you have to do through them in the middle of another lockdown.

For those living with their spouse and thinking about divorce, will have considerations about when the right time is? Before another lockdown, or after another lockdown? Do I wait it out? What happens if I decide to start them and my spouse gets served with the papers while we are locked down and we can’t get out of the house for light relief?

For those who have a financial aspect of a divorce to consider, might be thinking about how buoyant the property market it? How secure their job is? Whether they will be able to be financially independent?

For those who have children issues, they will be considering how best to adjust childcare (especially during the October half term) if the lockdown happens? What are the rules? What is allowed and not allowed?

There will be men and women experiencing domestic violence who will undoubtedly feeling worried, scared and anxious about the repercussions of a lockdown. How will I cope? Will I be able to get a protective order? What type of protective order can I get? (if you are a victim of domestic violence and you are scared for yours or your children’s safety, you should seek help as you feel able to do so. There are a great deal of charities and refuges who can help you as well as solicitors who can provide you with legal advice almost immediately. If you are in immediate danger, you should call the police immediately).

All of the above pose relevant questions and proper concerns about family law problems. If you have any of the above questions and any of the above resonates with you, my advice to you is to plan and to inform yourself of what your rights are and what you can do practically and legally. You are very welcome to contact one of the family solicitors here at GN law for 20 minutes of free advice, either over the phone or in our Covid-19 secure clinic on a Wednesday. You can get in touch with us by phoning 0208 492 2290 or by emailing on lob@gnlaw.co.uk.

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