Coronavirus has had a devasting impact upon all of us, whether directly or indirectly. It has also had a significant impact upon businesses which, for some, is ongoing. There has also been an impact upon families, some of which is likely to have been as a result of the uncertain times we face, particularly financially.
However, we understand the importance of ensuring that we remain accessible to all our clients during these unprecedented times and to ensure that we continue to serve them with the same high level of service that makes us stand out.
Unfortunately, there have been some inconsistencies within the family court system during COVID-19. There are certain courts that continue to hear cases by telephone or video using Skype or Microsoft Teams. However, we have noticed a significant impact upon cases in certain courts, particularly those being heard in the Magistrates’ Courts. A substantial amount of hearings are being vacated to a date “in the future”. This uncertainty is causing concern and frustration to clients particularly as once the courts are up and running again, there is likely to be a huge backlog of cases, meaning we are unable to advise clients when their cases will be re-listed and, even more concerning, whether it will even be in 2020! However, we will continue to support our clients through these difficult times and ensure that we keep them updated throughout, as well as advising on alternatives until normal service is resumed.
We have noticed an increase in family work during lockdown due to financial pressures of furloughs and redundancies and families now spending so much time together. At the start of lockdown, matters involving children were prevalent, which may have been as a result of confusion as to whether children should be allowed to travel between houses in situations where parents are separated. However, as lockdown continues, we are now starting to see a rise in enquiries regarding divorce and separation. A recent article by the Telegraph stated that during lockdown divorce rates have increased by 42%, a rise we are certainly starting to see through new enquiries.
Should you require our services during these unprecedented times, please do not hesitate to contact Séverine Vincent or Kerri Gregory in our Family Department on 01926 422101.