… “what is the status of my divorce?”
We have received a number of enquiries over the past few weeks relating to the impact of COVID-19 on ongoing divorce and financial remedy proceedings.
The President of the Family Division and Head of the Family Justice Council, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued guidance recently stating: “there is a strong public interest in the Family Justice System continuing to function as normally as possible despite the present pandemic.”
This means that divorce centres in England and Wales are still open and they are processing divorce and Financial Remedy Consent Orders, albeit with reduced staffing levels. Similarly local family courts are still processing financial remedy applications, and conducting financial remedy hearings on a remote access basis.
Unlike jury trials in the Crown Court; hearings in the family courts do not necessarily require the physical attendance of parties and their legal representatives in the same courtroom.
At Hunt & Coombs Solicitors, we have seen a number of our financial remedy cases settle over the past few weeks as a result of judicial input via telephone (in the same way that they would settle if the parties physically attended court). This is promising and advocates that hearings can still be effective by telephone or video call.
The determination of whether or not a remote hearing is suitable will be based upon specific factors of the case. However, the general consensus is not to delay seeking legal advice about divorce and financial settlements whilst the Family Justice System is still in operation.
Equally, if you are concerned about how the current unsettled economic and financial situation might affect your case then our family lawyers can offer you specialist legal advice about your options. It might, for example, be possible to agree certain aspects of your financial settlement whilst leaving uncertain issues relating to income and maintenance open.
If you require help and advice concerning your divorce, and would like to discuss how Hunt & Coombs can help you please contact our Family Team on 01733 882800 or email [email protected].
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