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Coronavirus: Isolation may spark surge in divorces, warns lawyer


Family lawyer Ciaran Moynagh from Phoenix Law

Family lawyer Ciaran Moynagh from Phoenix Law

The Prince of Wales

The Prince of Wales

Family lawyer Ciaran Moynagh from Phoenix Law

A family lawyer from Belfast firm Phoenix Law believes that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a spike in Northern Ireland's divorce rate as couples enter isolation together.

Ciaran Moynagh spoke out after divorce lawyer Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, whose previous clients include the Prince of Wales, Liam Gallagher and Thierry Henry's ex-wife Claire Merry, told the House of Lords that an increase in the UK's divorce rate was "very likely".

She told peers at Westminster: "The prediction amongst divorce lawyers is that, following self-imposed confinement, it is very likely that the divorce rate will rise. Our peak times are after long exposure during the summer holidays and over Christmas.

"One only has to imagine what it's going to be like when families are sealed in a property for a long period of time."

Mr Moynagh added that because families and couples were being dragged out of their daily routines through school closures and working from home, cracks that may already be in a relationship would begin to show or "will certainly widen".

"When you have schools off and you have parents coming under increasing pressure, for example at Christmas when essentially working life stops, people reflect on another year over," he said.

"They may decide that they want a different life or a better life and this will be no different.

"People are coming out of their work routines and their daily life routines, children are in the house, pressure and anxiety is up and that all leads to boiling point.

"Therefore, there will be couples or individuals who will make the decision to separate, which would not normally happen because they are just getting on with their normal routine.

"When people stop - when they come out of auto-pilot essentially - they take a different stance or a different view of things. They reflect more and they just decide they want something different."

Mr Moynagh added that it could go "either way" for families because some will enjoy the time off with their partner and children, while others will come under even more strain.

"In those relationships that already have poor communication or already have issues, they will worsen, while those that get on well will be better," he said.

Belfast Telegraph