Divorce in the time of Covid-19

Our team: Teresa Cullen

Last week saw our first case arrive in which Covid-19 made an appearance as a ground for the breakdown of the relationship. The heated argument over whether or not the Government restrictions were justified or proportionate and should be adhered to was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back. So as Family lawyers, do we now need to consider whether such disagreements and the refusal to accept Government restrictions and abide by them could be construed as “unreasonable behaviour”, such that they could be included as part of the Particulars needed to establish “unreasonable behaviour” as a basis for Divorce? It seems so, or at least until ‘No-Fault Divorce’ is finally with us.

It also seems from memories of the not so distant past that entrenched views and fiercely held beliefs can contribute to relationship strain, particularly when there are underlying tensions as was the case with my client’s relationship. The fallout from Brexit was not only political, but in a number of cases also personal with divisions between Brexiteers and Remainers.

Given the Government restrictions, the added pressures of confinement and working from home, economic uncertainty and general anxiety, it seems that Covid-19 may play an even greater role in relationship breakdown than Brexit.

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