AFL Featured in National News Regarding Covid Divorce Rates

Our Head of Legal for Queensland Vanessa Hernandez was featured in major metropolitan news including the Herald Sun and Courier-Mail providing expert legal commentary on family law issues being faced by Australians due to the ongoing impact and pressures of Covid leading to a spike in divorce rates.

“Australian Family Lawyers have been taking unprecedented numbers of calls from people enquiring about family law rights, separation and divorce. Our calls have almost doubled in the last 12 months up 95 per cent on this time last year. We saw a huge spike in calls in July when the national lockdowns ended and another large spike in calls in November mostly from Victorians when the lockdowns there ended,” she said.

Ms Hernandez added there is also a delay between when people seek information, start separation proceedings and finalise divorce which may see higher divorce rates in coming months.

“It really has been the perfect storm of financial stress, job losses, loss of social networks and isolation, with work from home creating relationship pressure as well. It also takes 12 months between starting separation proceedings and when the divorce paperwork is officially completed, so we expect to see a rise in the divorce rate later this year,’’ she said.

Covid has also impacted custody arrangements which have required regular negotiation with many children living interstate.

Domestic violence matters which increased through lockdowns were also highlighted by Ms Hernandez as an ongoing challenge.

“Domestic and family violence is a pandemic within the pandemic. Almost half of my cases in Queensland now involve some kind of family violence and this is reflected in all the data we are seeing from domestic violence organisations,” Ms Hernandez said.

“It’s been very challenging for lawyers to navigate this and at AFL we always advocate for safety first. Now that lockdowns have lifted in most areas there is the opportunity for people to contact lawyers discretely and out of earshot of their partners, again this might mean there are more separations and divorces to come’’, she said.

For further related resources and reading on Covid divorce rates, domestic violence and legal safety measures, see:

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