Stacey Nevin, senior associate in our Family team, has been quoted in Today's Family Lawyer about the impact that COVID-19 has has on the ability to get divorced and the different options that couples are trying.
In the article, Stacey explains how the number of cases the courts are dealing with has increased, in turn non-urgent matters are taking longer.
Whilst the Family Courts have adapted relatively well in the pandemic (moving to remote court hearings fairly quickly), the number of cases the courts are dealing with has increased and non-urgent matters are taking longer to get before a judge. This delay can result in higher costs for both parties, at a time when finances may already be tight (the Office of National Statistics reported a record high redundancy rate in three months to November 2020). However, clients have always had a wide variety of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, and the increased delays we are now seeing for non-urgent matters has, hopefully, put a renewed focus on these. For example, mediation can offer a more cost effective and less adversarial way of resolving the financial arrangements on a divorce. Separating couples can also consider round table meetings (which can be conducted virtually) with solicitors or private court hearings (arbitration or a private Financial Dispute Resolution hearing). Whilst a “private judge” has to be paid for, often the overall costs are lower, as the parties can seek a resolution far quicker than in the court process. Clients can, if they need to, replicate the court process without the delay that can be encountered with court proceedings, saving time, money and hopefully reducing the emotional stress that can be encountered with drawn out proceedings.”
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About the author
Stacey Nevin is a Senior Associate in Kingsley Napley’s family and divorce team. She advises UK and international clients on matters involving all aspects of family law, in particular complex financial issues and private children cases.