Divorce figures show ‘pent up need’

The return of schools to face-to-face lessons on March 8 is the first step in England re-opening after the third lockdown.

It’s a welcome sign that we are making progress in the fight against coronavirus. And, if all goes to plan, more restrictions will be lifted as we move through spring and summer.

The strain placed on families and individuals by the virus and the response to counter it has been immense. Never in peacetime has there been such a hammer blow to our ability to earn a living, go about our daily lives and interact with those around us.

Sadly, we know that for too many people, the restrictions of lockdown have exacerbated existing issues in some households.

Experience tells us that in those relationships already under pressure, intense periods of time spent together – such as summer holidays or at Christmas – can be the final straw. The removal of a regular routine, where work, family and social commitments occupy large chunks of time, can magnify the cracks in a relationship.

Living together in lockdown over several months can be far harder – with the added weight of health, family or financial concerns.

Spike in divorce applications

The latest figures on divorce applications give some glimpse as to what may have happened in those relationships during the last year.

Between April and July, divorce applications increased by 93% but dipped in August to below 2019 levels. The Legal Services Board, which monitor these figures, said this summer peak may ‘indicate a reticence to issue proceedings during the first national lockdown with a subsequent spike showing that pent-up need’.

This suggests that some people resolved to make a change in their relationships just as soon as they were able.

There’s no disputing that Covid-19 has given us a jolt. The last 12 months have led to many people reassessing aspects of their life and making changes that otherwise may not have been the case.

There will be those who will consider whether a fresh start is what’s required as we slowly head out of lockdown.

Our advice to those taking this step is to seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity. It does not commit you to any action, but it makes complete sense to understand what options and implications are involved.

Divorce or the ending of a civil partnership are decisions that have wide ranging implications for all aspects of your life. It is not a step that anyone takes lightly.

Taking on board the expertise and experience of people who ‘know the road’ can stop damaging decisions being taken that you may come to regret.

We’ve written previously about divorce during the pandemic.

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