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Property and divorce: Emma Gill speaks to the World at One

29th May 2020 - George Salmon

With lockdown restrictions becoming increasingly effective in tackling the spread of COVID-19, attention has turned to re-opening parts of the economy which had previously been frozen.

In early May, it was announced that the property market would be one of the first market segments to re-open, provided that strict social distancing guidelines were still followed.

Immediately following this announcement, Emma Gill, head of Vardags Manchester office and director of divorce and family law, was invited onto BBC Radio 4s World at One to offer her expert analysis.

In early May, it was announced that the property market would be one of the first market segments to re-open, provided that strict social distancing guidelines were still followed.

Across the globe, the lifting of lockdown restrictions has prompted an unexpected phenomenon: a sharp rise in the number of couples seeking a divorce. Emma explained that while enquiries have remained pretty steady at pre-lockdown levels, she anticipates an increase in that curve as restrictions are lifted.

Key to this increase, Emma argued, would be the reopening of the property market, describing this as crucial to any eventual rise.

Emma explained that while enquiries have remained pretty steady at pre-lockdown levels, she anticipates an increase in that curve as restrictions are lifted.

The primary reason for this is the eventual division of assets that is necessary for a divorce.

The home in which people live together is generally still the largest asset that they have, Emma explained.

It will take time before we are able to look back and judge whether divorces in the UK increased in a similar manner to countries around the globe. But the re-opening of the property market may provide us with an early sign of what is to come.  

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