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We need to move away from legal disputes for separating families to help to build better relationships and cause less harm. Society’s approach to divorce and separation has to change. A report published today by the Family Solutions Group calls for a rethink.
We recognise that the last few months have been testing for many separated parents who have been co-parenting throughout the pandemic – with home schooling and juggling work and child care commitments between two households. With the uncertainty as to whether schools can safely reopen fully, some separated parents may well find themselves disagreeing on whether their child should attend in such circumstances.
Much has been written about the case of Barder v Calouori  AC 20 (“Barder”) in the initial stages of the COVID-19 lockdown. It was held out as the means by which maybe, just maybe, it might be possible to reopen a case where a substantive financial order has been made on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic is an event which has invalidated the basis, or fundamental assumptions of the original financial order.
After decades of campaigning, predominantly by family law practitioners, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill finally received Royal assent and became an Act of Parliament on 25 June 2020. In the biggest shake-up of divorce laws for 50 years, the move towards “no fault divorce” is long overdue, and a welcome change which is aimed at reducing the impact that the requirement to apportion blame in divorce petitions can have on couples and their children.
The uncertain financial trajectory as a result of the coronavirus crisis is something that couples going through the divorce process need to consider carefully as it can have an impact on their financial settlements. Pension assets can often get overlooked on divorce generally as they are not viewed in the same way as a cash asset or a property.
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