Citizens Advice has reported an increase in searches for divorce guidance since April 2020 following a reduction in physical visits due to lockdown, and views on its divorce webpage in the first weekend of September showed an increase of 25% compared to the same date in 2019.

Tom MacInnes, the chief analyst for Citizens Advice, said: “We know that this pandemic has put an enormous strain on people financially but our data shows that strain is also being felt in people’s relationships.”

In March we reported that in China and America, there had been an increase in divorce rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 23rd March 2020, the UK introduced ‘Staying at Home and Away from Other People’ rules in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, and people were required to stay in their homes except for obtaining food, for medical reasons, or for going to work where it was not possible to work from home, a period now referred to as ‘lockdown’.

From 15 August 2020, some ‘lockdown’ measures were briefly eased, but since this date some areas have still experienced local lockdowns, and on 14 September 2020 the ‘Rule of Six’ was introduced, requiring that (with a few exceptions) indoor and outdoor gatherings in England be limited to a maximum of six people.

These measures have led to many couples spending an increased amount of time together in the home, particularly for those who moved to home working or who were furloughed. The uncertainty around jobs and the large number of people furloughed or made redundant may also have caused strain on the family finances. This increase in time spent together, combined with the stress caused by the pandemic has for some couples unfortunately led to an exacerbation of pre-existing issues and the decision to separate.

If you have experienced difficulties in your relationship due to the pandemic, you may wish to consider Relate counselling. Many counselling providers are able to offer online services to support couples struggling during this difficult time.

If you are unable to resolve these issues, consider that your marriage has broken down, or just want some advice about your options, all of the family solicitors at Ellisons are members of Resolution which means that we follow the Resolution Code of Practice. We look to ensure that even when divorcing or separating, parties can reach an agreement in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.

At Ellisons, we remain committed to helping you during these difficult times and are able to offer initial appointments by telephone. If you would like to talk to one of our family lawyers, please get in touch.

Contact the Family Law Team