Covid 19 and Financial Issues

Sharon Blackstone
Solicitor, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner
4 January 2022

Like many other family lawyers, we at Blackstone Family Law LLP have received an increased number of enquiries over the last two years, many arising from the stresses and strains experienced by couples and families as a result of the lockdowns and other issues arising from the pandemic.

A number of the enquiries we have dealt with relate to the arrangements for the children of separated or separating parents. These arrangements have proved to be challenging. Although the Courts can deal with any unresolved disputes, they have urged parents to reach agreement, if necessary, on a temporary basis, whenever possible.

This blog highlights some of the issues which may be addressed in relation to financial and property matters..


  • Some people have faced difficulties in relation to their employment. This has meant that assessing future financial arrangements has been difficult, especially if they have been made redundant as there is uncertainty about their job security or they may be struggling to restart a business or some form of self-employment.
  • The values of assets, including properties, investments and pensions, are fluctuating and it may be hard to decide whether the financial issues can be dealt with now or are best left until a future date. The value of pensions may have been affected by the pandemic.
  • It may be difficult to work out what maintenance should be paid because of uncertainty as to future income and also, to assess the future budgeted needs for both spouses.
  • The Courts are not prioritising financial cases and it is therefore preferable for these to be addressed by negotiation or, in some cases, by arbitration or other form of dispute resolution to save the potential delay and significant legal costs of protracted and uncertain litigation.

We have also dealt with cases where divorced clients have existing maintenance or other financial orders which can no longer be complied with because of changed financial circumstances. Maintenance orders can be varied where appropriate. For orders relating to property, investments and pensions, there are some applications which can be made to vary the arrangements, in limited circumstances.


  • The situation which arises most frequently with unmarried couples is how to deal with a property which they own jointly or to which they have both contributed. The applicable law is trust law which means that any disputes are rarely straightforward. Problems may be exacerbated by a change or changes in the value of the property, especially if it may be argued that it should be retained as home for any minor children while they complete their education. The increase in most property values over the last eighteen months has undoubtedly impacted on the outcome of a number of cases for good, where this has enabled a couple to both move on but adversely, where there have been insufficient funds to enable both parties to acquire new homes.
  • Child-support payments will need to be worked out and whilst a statutory formula is applied for this purpose, there can be problems if the parent who is to make the payment is facing uncertainty in relation to their employment.

We are able to help and advise on the issues which we have outlined above and many others. We offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation service. If you are facing or dealing with any problems arising from relationship breakdown at the current time, please do not hesitate to contact us.