This article first appeared in the Yorkshire Post ‘Country Week’ supplement on Saturday 24th October 2020.
Rural, farming and landowning families are currently experiencing a multitude of stressors, which in some cases is leading to increased family conflict. As family lawyers, we are often the first to see the frontline impact of wider events on family dynamics and finances.
Right now, everyone is dealing with the impact and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Brexit “deal or no deal” deadline is also looming, with business owners facing huge uncertainty over both personal and business finances. Last week, the Yorkshire Post also reported on the Common’s defeat of the House of Lord’s amendment to the Agriculture Bill, which aimed to protect UK food standards in future trade deals. The outcome of these trade deals will have a direct impact on many of our clients in the farming and agriculture sector.
In a “normal” year, the lead-up to Christmas can often be a high-pressure time for families. Throw a global pandemic and uncertainty over future lockdown measures and the economic impacts into the mix, and it is little wonder that tensions can flare up.
Seeking advice on children and financial disputes
At Silk Family Law, we are already seeing increased family conflict. We are currently dealing with a number of disputes, particularly around children and finances – often now with wider family involved too.
We are advising a number of families with farming and other businesses who need expert advice on protecting the business. This is particularly complex where bank financing is an issue and we can access our network of professional advisors and valuers to assist in constructing solutions. While some of our clients may have been “hunkering down” to ride out difficulties in their relationships, as time moves on many feel they have to seek legal advice to ensure that they are protected from the fall-out of separation or divorce. Leaving that advice too late can mean that solutions which might have been unlocked are no longer available.
With further lockdown measures looking likely and many businesses facing closure or enforced job losses, the stresses are not going to be relieved any time soon.
If you or your family has been directly affected, it is important to seek independent advice from a qualified professional. As family law experts with access to other forms of alternative dispute resolution, or the protection of the Court where required, we can act quickly to protect children and business assets and help families plan for the future where there is relationship breakdown.