The Effect of COVID-19 on Divorce Proceedings—What to Know

a mother and her child

Coronavirus (COVID-19) put a jarring stop to almost all aspects of a person’s daily life—even halting a majority of non-urgent legal proceedings. With the world held at the neck by fear of this deadly pandemic, the focus of the world turned towards self-preservation and health, thus pausing the handling of personal problems for the meantime.

Intended originally as a short-term interruption, the continuing lockdowns and quarantine procedures have made it difficult to keep postponing important life events for long. For couples facing or amidst divorce proceedings, in particular, this has never been more evident. As difficult as the situation is, it’s only with sincere empathy to advise to remain cool and collected, to avoid the situation turning worse.

Child Custody arrangements during COVID-19

The biggest concern of many divorced and divorcing couples is in regard to their child custody arrangements. As terrifying as it might be to get out of the house, child custody arrangements must still be adhered to.

There has not been any postponement of the current state of custody arrangements, meaning you and your former partner must still abide by the agreement. After all, you both still have a right to still see your child and spend time with them, which is why it must be made clear that this should still be followed. Any lapse on this for no valid reason can make it a precursor to a bigger legal problem.

Take note, however, that this only applies if there is no risk of violating any other law in regard to safety. If, for example, you or your former partner had gotten into contact with someone showing COVID-19 symptoms, then the legal guidelines for quarantine must apply. As such, for the safety of the child, the parent who isn’t at risk of the virus may reschedule the arrangement—provided that it’s a real risk to the child.

Communication is Key

With the world slowly reopening its doors to normality, people are starting to shuffle and settle into this new normal situation. Although the courts are limitedly open, these are only for urgent cases—meaning your divorce procedures may not be on the top of their list at the moment.

Given what’s happening with the world, it’s best to keep an open line of communication with your former partner. Going that extra mile to at least communicate for the sake of safety and precaution of you and your family is a good first step if possible.

For Victims of abuse

If you or your child are at further risk by being in contact with your partner, then contact the authorities for help immediately. This is considered an urgent case and is not affected by the isolation and social distancing protocol currently in place.


In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to be informed about the situation and how it affects your relationship with your ex-partner and children. For divorcing couples, the changes in the world do not diminish your problems – whilst many parts of society have been placed on hold, it is important you obtain legal advice to protect you and your children’s lives.

Are you looking for online legal advice? At Lawon, we provide initial online legal advice for free! Connect with us today and stay in touch with our qualified solicitors in Manchester for any trouble you might be facing.