COVID-19 Your Family Law Questions Answered.
Alison Cameron, our Family Law Solicitor, answers your queries and concerns during these challenging times:
1. I am part way through divorce proceedings will I still be able to deal with my solicitor now we are all under social distancing?
Manners Pimblett has made sure all fee earners are working remotely to keep your proceedings moving forward. Please call the usual direct number or email.
2. I have a court hearing coming up and am unsure if it will go ahead?
The courts are still sitting remotely, where possible. Changes are happening daily, and you will appreciate that there may be a delay to the court dealing with applications due to reduced staff in the court buildings. Matters are still be dealt with and if it appears the social distancing will have a significant impact on your matter we will let you know as soon as we are able to do so.
In the first week of social distancing or lockdown the court vacated quite a lot of hearings. The court is now sitting remotely for most matters. Each case will receive communication from the court about how your hearing will be dealt with and we will communicate with you if this affects your case. At the moment most are being heard with advocates appearing by telephone hearings. As time progresses, we are expecting the court to make use of video conferencing software so hearings can be heard in full, albeit remotely.
3. My partner wants the children to stay with them more than the court allowed as they say they have Covid-19 symptoms and therefore the children need to stay there 14 days. This goes beyond what we agreed and what the court ordered. Is there anything I can do?
Moving children during isolation periods creates significant risks for households and the further risk of spreading Covid-19. Although this prolonged stay may be undesirable and affords more contact than ordered, if this is a genuine isolation the children may have to stay where they are.
Orders that determine where and with whom children shall spend their time are enforceable in normal circumstances and if you do not believe that this is a legitimate isolation enforcement may be an appropriate step, however the courts will look at the circumstances and seek to determine which parent acted reasonably and sensibly in the circumstances.
All reasonable steps must be taken to resolve any dispute before the court is involved further unless a child is at significant risk of harm.
The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has released guidance asking parents to act sensibly and safely and to try, in these incredibly difficult circumstances to act pragmatically, communicate their worries, act reasonably and sensibly in varying any agreements or orders and make the most of technology to fulfil ongoing relationships between parents and their children.
Although movement between households is permitted within social distancing, it is important that considerations are given overall to the risks involved in transmission of Covid-19 and the fact that the permitted movement of children may happen, but it does not mean that the movement of children between households must happen.
4. What are the implications of the global financial downturn as a result of Covid-19 on my financial settlement? Should I consider trying to settle now or wait?
The downturn in financial markets will affect every aspect of our lives and our financial resources including income, shares and savings, mortgages and the valuation of domestic property and property abroad will be affected. Settlement at this stage is risky because the future of financial markets is uncertain.
Proceeding with settlement now will entirely depend on the type of assets in your case. We will speak to you at length about your matter and we will aim guide you to a decision that is right for you in relation to the circumstances of your case.
If you have concerns about your case or matter and wish to speak to me please email email@example.com