Legal firm sees 40% jump in divorce inquiries during coronavirus lockdown

Divorce inquiries have jumped by more than 40% during the coronavirus lockdown, according to lawyers.

Co-op Legal Services saw a 42% increase in divorce inquiries between March 23 and mid-May, compared with the same period in 2019.

It said that while lockdown has been a treasured time for households to spend together, for some couples it has perhaps prompted those who were considering divorce to take the step.

Lawyers tend to see a spike in divorce inquiries in January, following rows over Christmas.

Co-op Legal Services said that during some weeks of the lockdown it saw inquiries jump by 75% compared with a year earlier.

It said Friday is the most common day for people to inquire about divorce, followed by Tuesday.

Tracey Moloney, head of family law at Co-op Legal Services, said: “We know that divorce can be a difficult decision at any time, and often couples have already considered divorcing for a number of months and tried mediation before they begin the process. Currently, concerns about finances, employment, coupled with the fact that households are having to spend an increased amount of time together can add strain on relationships.

“However, divorce is life changing for all involved and so it’s really important that couples don’t go into divorce lightly and as a result of the current situation we find ourselves in.”

Here are Ms Moloney’s tips for managing divorce:

1. Be prepared. Divorce can lead to loneliness, a location change and a fall in confidence. Finding community groups or new hobbies may help.

2. Consider other potential resolutions. It may be that extreme circumstances during the lockdown have pushed you to make a decision you would normally take longer to think about.

3. Consider the logistics of living apart while staying safe during this time.

4. Try to work out financial matters between you, for an outcome that will suit you both in the long run, which will help save time and money. But be aware that what you think is fair may not be the same in the eyes of the law.

5. When children are involved, divorce can become more complicated. If the other parent is acting in a way that is preventing you from seeing your child, consider your legal options.

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