Davies and Partners’ Head of Family Law in London, Hazel McNaught, takes a look at the positive and negative effects the last year of Lockdown has had on love and family life.
“There is no denying that the consequences of the COVID pandemic have been considerable and wide-reaching. The pandemic has impacted every part of our society, and on a domestic level, lockdowns have meant that couples and families have spent an unprecedented amount of time together. Indeed, in the early days of lockdown, a number of couples, when weighing up the prospect of not seeing one another for months on end, took the step of deciding to move in together earlier than they might otherwise have done.
For better or worse, the pandemic has forced our lives into a microcosm, often amplifying existing tensions. For months on end, our lives were reduced to the four walls of our own homes, without the usual routine of work, friendships and socialising away from home. This has caused our romantic relationships to come into sharper focus. For some, more time at home was a positive: new couples were forced to accelerate, and for long-term partners, a simpler home life was a bonding exercise. The relationship counselling service Relate reported that a heart-warming 61% of respondents said that lockdown has made them realise relationships are the most important thing in their lives.
But the pandemic has also created tensions in some relationships, with existing issues aggravated under sharper focus. Couples have reported issues surrounding differing parenting styles, attitudes to money worries and priorities of relationships with friends and families becoming amplified, and divisions deepening. Domestic violence charities have also experienced worrying increases in enquiries, with the National Domestic Abuse Helpline reporting a 50% increase in calls.
For some couples, the vacuum created by lockdown means they have reached an impasse, neither being able to see a way forward. In the year 2020, it was reported that online searches for ‘divorce’ were up 25% on the year before, and this has only increased as people’s thoughts turn to our existence post-pandemic. This will afford new opportunities, and for some, this may be a choice to move on with life in a different direction be it a change of job, home, or a change in relationship status.
There are a number of different counselling services available for couples for whom the pandemic has brought challenges, many offering free sessions on an initial basis.
If you would welcome legal advice as a result of relationship or parenting difficulties, the dedicated family team at Davies & Partners has a wealth of experience in guiding clients through the process of separation and divorce. If you feel you would benefit from a discussion with a member of our team, we offer a free 30-minute consultation, in order to assist you in considering your options, and moving forward.”