Lockdown leads to divorce surge fears

21st October 2020

Lockdown leads to divorce surge fears

A sharp rise in the number of divorces across the West Midlands is expected as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, one of the region’s most prominent family law specialists has warned.

Philip Barnsley, Head of Family at Higgs & Sons based in Brierley Hill, has revealed his firm received 60 per cent more divorce enquiries over the last six months compared to the same period last year.

The easing in national lockdown in May was the catalyst for the spike in the number of enquiries, which has remained high over recent months.

Philip said: “It does look as though rising divorce rates will prove to be one of the many sad and unfortunate consequences of lockdown.

“During the strict national lockdown of March and April, we saw no calls at all surrounding divorces but, as soon as that began to end, the top came off the can and we received a deluge of enquiries.

“We normally get around five or six divorce enquiries each week but that figure rose to as high as 35 in the peak period.

“Unfortunately, we have also seen a consistent number of calls coming in since then and, overall, there has been a 60 per cent increase in divorce enquiries over the last six months compared to 2019.

“Lockdown has put people in exceptional circumstances and meant households have spent significantly more time together than normal.

“In some cases, that has heightened tensions due to working from home, potential financial concerns, other family pressures and less social contact outside of the home.

“These factors have increased marital tensions in some households and, ultimately, that will lead to divorce rates increasing for quite some time to come.

“We saw a similar rise in demand for advice around the 2008/2009 financial crisis but this has far so superseded those levels.”

Despite the surge in demand, Higgs & Sons remains committed to providing amicable solutions to family breakdowns.

Philip added: “Any divorce proceedings are obviously extremely difficult and distressing times and our role is to get the most amicable solution possible for all parties. We are all active members of Resolution and as such are committed to finding constructive and non-confrontational solutions for families and particularly at this time when so many are in need of our advice and assistance.

“All our work is about protecting relationships, children and wealth.”

Higgs & Sons has partnered with digital specialist Settify to provide a free online tool for those enquiring about divorce. It provides a free, confidential and simple portal to enable people to provide details about their situation, allowing the experts at Higgs & Sons to quickly assess the position and provide bespoke advice.



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Higgs & Sons is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 51162.