Q: My wife and I agreed at the start of 2020 to separate. Everything was amicable. I was running a successful business and we agreed between us how things would work financially. The kids would stay with their mother, I would move out and rent somewhere until everything was finalised, and we would divorce on the grounds of two years living apart.
Then along came Coronavirus! I haven’t moved out and my successful business has become a nightmare of massive overheads with no income and a ruck of furloughed staff that will soon cost me money I don’t have. The nightmare will continue long after lockdown ends, and I have no idea what the future holds. How can a financial settlement be worked out on that basis? Should I put everything on hold?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos in every quarter and undoubtedly the uncertainty of what the future holds for us all is the most difficult thing to cope with when it comes to planning anything, including divorce. Putting everything on hold, however, is not necessarily your only or even your best option.
There are many stages involved in working out the financial settlement of a divorce, the starting place usually being to assess what is in the marital pot. Whilst in many cases this is going to be less straightforward due to COVID chaos, a certain amount of flexibility can be introduced with a little creative thinking. One consideration would be to agree an interim holding arrangement that determines certain terms prior to signing a comprehensive separation agreement. This could include how to handle the sale of the marital home, parenting support and plans, purchase and disposition of certain assets etc.
You should speak to a divorce solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options in greater detail. Despite COVID-19 we are all still working, and telephone appointments are readily available.
This question has been answered by Alison Peters a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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