The Covid effect takes its toll on marriages

Families across the North West are feeling the effect of Covid-19 on their home environment, as North West law firm Napthens reports a large rise in divorce instructions.

The firm, which offers a range of family law services from offices across Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside, saw a 47 per cent increase in new divorce cases opened in September when compared with September 2019.

Helen Lucking, Partner and Head of Family at Napthens, said: “The pandemic has created extra stresses and pressures for every family, and unfortunately for some that extra strain has been too much for their relationship.

“Being in an unhappy marriage during lockdown has clearly led to a lot of couples reassessing their life situation. It seems many couples are looking to act now to complete a separation and make a new start.

“With the postponement of hundreds of weddings this year, 2020 could become the first year ever where the number of divorces outstrips new marriages.”

With a rise in divorce instructions creating a backlog in the courts, 90 per cent of hearings are now being heard remotely over video or telephone.

Despite this, Napthens is continuing to deal with applications for divorce and assisting clients to finding resolutions in alternative ways, such as mediation or settlements before court proceedings are required.

Figures from Napthens covering the previous three years also show the trend of a low divorce rate in December through the Christmas holidays but a sharp rise during the following February and March.