As lockdown eases and we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel we have put together some answers to the most frequently asked questions about separating in lockdown.
Coronavirus has put relationships under immense strain. Never before in our lifetime has an external event required people to stay at home for extended periods, with our world narrowed around us. For some this intense way of living has proved incredibly difficult and exposed or compounded difficulties in their personal relationships.
How do I speak to a family lawyer while physical offices are closed?
We offer face-to-face consultations over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. You don’t need to be technologically savvy, we can send you a link so all you need to do is click it. We can also do a telephone/audio only consultation if preferred. If you are having an issue finding a quiet private space we can offer a variety of times of day and/or make some suggestions about how you might manage that if you are still living with your spouse or partner. We offer a fixed or capped fee for the consultation so you have certainty over cost. It is also very normal to ask us for a one off meeting on a “what if” basis to explore what your options are and what the process would be in the event you choose to separate.
Is mediation available?
Yes. Relationships Scotland and other couple counselling mediators are offering online mediation for couples. Post separation mediation is also available online via these channels, including CALM Mediation Scotland, which is a body of legally qualified mediators. We can provide more information about these services and give advice on which might be most suitable for you if it’s something you would like to explore.
Are the Courts open?
Yes. The Courts are continuing to operate and divorces are being processed and granted administratively. Court hearings are also taking place for those who aren’t able to reach an agreement with their spouse in relation to their children or their finances. Some hearings are taking place in person and some are being dealt with online or by conference call.
Can I move house?
Yes. Unlike during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 both the rental sector and the property market remain open. It is currently possible to view properties with a view to renting or buying. The majority of viewings will now be virtual in the first instance with in-person viewings limited to serious prospective renter/purchasers at a pre-arranged time. Necessary travel involved in moving home, and associated activities is allowed. Removal companies can operate. Tenancy agreements can be signed. Surveys can take place and property purchases can be completed and the change in ownership registered.
Can I move in with family or friends?
Yes. The Scottish Government’s Coronavirus rules allow a person to change household.
In short you have many options available to you. We know it’s hard even in normal times to make the decision to end a relationship that’s not working, and that it is daunting. Our goal is to help you make educated, informed decisions and to secure the best possible outcome for you and for your family.
If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.