Is Your Relationship at a Crossroads?


In this blog, Director James Pirrie outlines the factors to consider if you feel your relationship is at a crossroads.

Personal Safety

Quite rightly, there is considerable focus in the news at the moment on those managing coercive or abusive situations during lock-down. There is a significant amount of help available to meet a broad range of needs.

Beyond managing the immediate crisis, longer-term solutions are needed for you – and, possibly, for your children. Joined up thinking is needed to create the new safe start in which you can thrive.

Relationship Stress

The stress of lockdown may bring out the best in some of us but can bring out the worst in our relationships. Isolated with our families, we have time to really take stock about what lies ahead. For some, radical change in the relationship seems to be needed.

The steps you take at these cross-road moments are life defining and need great thought. Speaking to family or friends, however well-meaning they are, may not be the right way forward in the heat of these moments. Training, experience and empathy may be what is needed to make the decisions that will stand the test of time 3 months, 3 years .. 30 years down the road

Starting Separated Parenting

Parents who are separating are likely to struggle to make sense of the myriad of comments and guidance as to what ought to be done. It is hardly surprising that it is difficult to make sense of the rules because each situation is different (and often each parent has a very different view of what the rules require).

If you are able to make use of this time to build a high-functioning parental alliance, all will be set fair for your children. In less easy situations, the structures now adopted may create expectations that are harder to correct down the line.

Financial Separation

The end of a relationship carries uncertainty over financial security and that is all the greater under the current shadow of Covid 19.

Where a solution simply cannot be found then steps can be put in place to permit financial separation once the current uncertainties become clear. If you know that separation is inevitable then everything starts with an exploration of your options, so that you can be clearer about the choices you have.

Mid Financial Negotiations

For some couples who were mid way through their negotiations about divorce and separation when Covid-19 arrived, it seemed finally that a resolution was in sight, only for all the pieces to be thrown into the air with uncertainty over needs, asset values, incomes and likely pensions.

There may still be a way forward once the post-pandemic dust finally clears.

Up-ended Financial Arrangements

Those who have financial arrangements in place will need help and guidance where financial changes arising from the economic downturn created by Covid-19 have undermined the assumptions on which those arrangements were based … spousal maintenance, child maintenance, even the capital and pension orders may (in more extreme circumstances) need to come up for re-evaluation and adjustment.

Variation applications should be got on with quickly; set-aside applications doubly so.

Child Arrangement Orders and Covid-19

‘Living with’ or ‘spending time with’ child arrangement orders may need re-thinking in the changed circumstances in which we now operate.

Careful planning is needed in the face of a court order but swift action is needed too particularly where compliance with the existing order places children in a situation of risk.

James Pirrie is a director at Family Law in Partnership. James specialises in complex financial issues and non-adversarial and cost-effective approaches to divorce and separation including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. He helps clients take control of the issues that affect them, clarifying priorities, exploring all the options and identifying the best way forward. Contact James at E: or T: 020 7420 5000