Is COVID-19 causing you to delay the decision to separate?

Is COVID-19 delaying your decision to separate?

The uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon everyone means that for a lot of us, we have stopped making plans. Being forced into an environment where we must be constantly agile and flexible is exhausting. We have now experienced multiple cycles of lockdowns, and have had to continually interpret rapidly changing public health information.  

It’s understandable that the thought of having to change plans at short notice, or dealing with the fall out of cancellation, is all too overwhelming. For some people, this means that they have put off making major life decisions, including whether to stay in a failing relationship or not. 

As the pandemic has progressed, our family lawyers have frequently met clients who have toughed it out, waiting to see what happens with the outbreak(s) until their family situation has reached an untenable crisis point. 

The decision to end a relationship is hugely personal. However, the difficulty in parking the decision to separate, particularly when you’re forced into the pressure cooker of living, working, and schooling at home, means that the underlying stressors in your relationship can escalate to a point where they cause irreparable damage.   

We are always here to support and assist our clients through complex legal disputes, but it is much easier to resolve a family law matter when there is some level of cordiality between the parties. 

If separation is something you have been contemplating, but are worried about committing to due to the pandemic, here are some important things to think about:

  • If your property needs to be sold, the local real estate market has never been stronger, thanks in part to Sydney buyers seeking space and solace in the suburbs.
  • Even during lockdown, home inspections to buy or rent a property have still been permitted.
  • The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia issued guidelines that made clear that co-parenting is expected to take place and children are to move between households to follow existing parenting arrangements. The Court has even established a dedicated COVID-19 list.
  • We have all been forced to familiarise ourselves with multiple audio-visual systems so that initial consultations, execution of documents, mediation conferences and Court appearances are all happening virtually. It is likely that many of the electronic measures adopted because of the pandemic, will remain in place, once things (hopefully, one day) return to normal.

If you are considering separating from your partner, it is important that you arrange a consultation to meet with an experienced family law solicitor to discuss what is the best course of action for you to move forward during a difficult time.

The family lawyers here at Berryman Partners are available to assist. We understand how important and delicate these matters are to you, and our team will be able to provide you with clear and comprehensive advice.

If you would like to speak with one of our family law lawyers, Contact Us on (02) 4943 3988 to make an appointment. We have years of experience helping people throughout the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter region. 

This blog was written by Senior Associate,
 Liz McIntyre
Liz practises in the areas of Family Law, Wills & Estate Planning,
Deceased Estates, Wills disputes and Conveyancing

Family Law

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