Family law in lockdown

Tue, 24 Mar 2020

We are entering difficult and unprecedented times.  The country faces a so-called “lockdown”, with stringent restrictions on everybody’s ability to travel, work and socialise for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, life must go on.  Families – especially separated families – may find themselves trying to navigate new challenges and disputes.  Perhaps you need to find a way to juggle childcare while one or both of you are working from home.  You may have an agreement about how your children will spend time between you which you are unable to stick to for the time being.  Michael Gove has this morning confirmed that this does mean that children can move between the homes of two separated parents if necessary, but of course this may not always be possible for every family.  Maybe you have a financial order for maintenance which you are no longer able to pay because you have lost your source of income.

Some families or former partners may already be in the midst of legal proceedings and will be wondering whether and when their court cases will be heard.  The family court is continuing to deal with cases where it can by using video and telephone technology, but it is likely that many cases will be postponed.

At No5 Barristers’ Chambers, our specialist Family Team has experienced counsel available not only to offer advice and representation, but to provide an efficient and viable alternative to court when needed.  We have qualified arbitrators who can make binding decisions on your case, whether it involves arrangements for children or a financial dispute.  Our members can undertake private financial dispute resolution hearings (FDRs) in place of a judge, which is an ideal option if you are worried about how long your case will take.  We also undertake family mediation, meaning a qualified lawyer can help you and your former partner to come to an agreement about your situation.

Most importantly, we are able to offer all of these services remotely, with no need for any face-to-face meetings.  We can offer consultations and multi-party appointments or hearings through conferencing facilities such as Lifesize, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, with immediate effect.

Please do not hesitate to contact Adam Wadley, Practice Director, if you wish to discuss any of our available services.


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