As China begins to get a glimpse of life on the other side of coronavirus, it seems that not everyone has been feeling the love during quarantine. It emerged that divorce rates in the country have soared, as couples were forced into spending time together in mandatory lockdown.
With Ireland having been in effective lockdown since 20th March, it is predicted that the same will happen here and divorce rates will surge. Unfortunately, this prediction comes as no surprise; however, if you are contemplating getting a divorce or are in the middle of divorce proceedings, you will probably be wondering what happens next and how might this current situation affect you?
The team at Boyce Kelly Solicitors LLP appreciate this is a challenging time for relationships, but we are here to help. Contact our divorce lawyers today on 074 9890190 or complete our online enquiry form.
Can you still get divorced during the coronavirus pandemic?
During the coronavirus pandemic, you can be assured that our family lawyers are still working hard, just not quite business as usual. While we are unable to have a face to face interview with you physically, our team are working either in the office behind closed doors or remotely from home, which means we are just an email, phone call or video call away. We have been deemed to be an ‘essential service’ so its very much business as usual for us in terms of advocating for our clients
We also appreciate that virtual meetings can be difficult due to living arrangements under lockdown. Therefore, we will work around your requirements and any restrictions.
Although the courts are closed to all but urgent court business, our team can help you take the necessary steps in either initiating a divorce petition or responding to divorce proceedings. We will keep you update to date with the latest developments while we are in lockdown, to ensure your case progresses as quickly as possible.
What about divorce proceedings initiated before the lockdown?
If you began divorce proceedings before the coronavirus pandemic, or you are in the middle of the process, you should keep in contact with your lawyer for any important updates on the divorce process during coronavirus. Given the current situation, the legal landscape is changing all the time but the courts offices are open, albeit working in a much slower way.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
As an alternative to court proceedings, you might wish to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as Mediation, to provide certainty and potentially bring the matter to a close. This can also be a more cost-effective method, and it enables you and your partner to set your own timescales for how quickly you wish things to progress. Our lawyers can talk you through this process, should you want to explore this.
I’m divorced and struggling to keep up with maintenance payments because of coronavirus, what can I do?
Your income might have unexpectedly reduced significantly, yet you still have an obligation to pay maintenance for your children, either because of a court order or an informal or formal agreement. In such circumstances, you might need to obtain specialist advice.
Dealing with matters cooperatively has never been more important for couples during this time. Where possible, speak to the other party and explain the situation to see if you can come to an agreement that suits both of you. If you do manage to come to an agreement, you should make sure that this is in writing.
Whether or not the change in your income will alter any existing arrangements you have in place will depend on the individual circumstances. It is also important to bear in mind whether the financial implications or pursuing a change to maintenance payments will be worthwhile. Our family law team are available and ready to help you. Get in touch with us today.
Access during COVID-19 and lockdown
The Department of Justice and Equality have published guidelines to assist parents during the lockdown.
They have indicated that as court orders remain in place in terms of access, they should be complied with to the greatest degree possible in the circumstances. This means that children should move between homes of their parents in accordance with access agreements/Orders.
Parents are advised to have a copy of the relevant Agreement/Court Order when travelling for access purposes.
Common sense should prevail and parties are encouraged to remain in contact with each other and express concerns to see if a compromise can be reached temporarily. Health concerns of the various parties and the people they live with should be weighed up. Where access cannot happen due to illness, self-isolation, other methods of contact and access should be utilised such as facetime, phone calls etc.
Parents should engage in mediation where agreement cannot be reached.
Contact our Divorce Lawyers in Donegal today
If you wish to discuss any issues surrounding divorce during this time, contact our family law team today. We understand that going through a divorce is never easy, and the current pandemic is only likely to leave you with more questions. The team at Boyce Kelly Solicitors LLP are ready to help. We can guide you and your family through tough times sensitively to suit the needs of everyone involved. Call us on 074 9890190 or complete our online contact form.
This guide does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If you require specific legal advice you should contact one of our lawyers who can advise you based on your own circumstances.
Please note this information is accurate as of 1 May 2020 and is subject to change as official guidance is adapted to reflect the implications of the virus.