2 April 2020
The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected every aspect of our lives, including matrimonial settlements and orders.
This area of Family Law deals with the income, assets and businesses of separated or divorced couples.
For many, the current situation will disrupt and change the direction of their case as each side considers their position and the finances they require to get through this difficult period.
An obvious consideration for those involved with settlement negotiations will be how the economic downturn will affect the value of their business and assets and the impact on their income.
Therefore, it is very important for each side to review their valuations before finalising a settlement.
This includes the valuation of pension funds where an order is yet to be made, especially where investments have been focussed in places which have been badly affected by the virus.
For those where a settlement has been agreed it may be worth considering reviewing the terms of their settlement. Indeed, the current situation may mean that many cannot continue to keep to the terms because of the effect the virus has had on their business or assets.
Generally, the Courts have taken the stance that the circumstances in which they will set aside an order have to be exceptional.
However, we are in exceptional times and the Courts will be required to consider the fairness of an order, especially in view of the speed in which the virus has gripped the world.
Alternatively, former or separating couples could come to an agreement themselves without resorting to litigation, such as with Mediation, which will avoid the need to attend Court.
Court cases are still going ahead but hearings will in most cases take place either by telephone, email, or by video conferencing.
We are also able to conduct meetings via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
For enquiries concerning Mediation, please contact Sheila Parkes, who is the head of Haymarket Family Mediation, which is part of Phillips. She can be contacted by calling 01256 854652 or by emailing [email protected]
During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss family law and mediation issues or any other legal matters by telephone and video conference.
This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.
Please call us or email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- 01256 460830
- [email protected]
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