'til COVID-19 do us part « McAlister Family Law


'til COVID-19 do us part

Nicola Wilburn-Shaw


Partner Nicola Wilburn-Shaw was recently featured in Living Edge magazine, giving valuable advice regarding the reported rise in divorce enquiries as a result of the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown.  We are pleased to reproduce this article here:

We've all seen the media articles arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic in relation to the increase in divorcing couples around the world, putting fault at the door of a long period of lockdown where there may have already been cracks in a slowly waning relationship.

As we embark upon a gradual exit following lockdown, many are looking about their lives and activities with caution, in terms of what the coming months may look like, not just in terms of their relationships but also of the economic consequences. Financial circumstances will have a direct impact upon couples who are entering into, or are currently involved in, divorce. Whenever spouses divorce, there follows a need to determine the division of matrimonial assets and/or finances. The courts must have specific information in relation to those assets which usually requires expert evidence by way of valuation.

Business interests and divorce

One problematic area will be business interests. As to whether or not such an interest will be affected (either adversely or positively), this will be dependent on a number of factors such as the sector of operation. However, any business relies on its suppliers and it may be further down that chain that there are problems. It will be pivotal, therefore, that a competent expert is instructed so as to give an accurate valuation based on both a “business as usual” and a “during/post-Covid-19” basis.

Nicola Wilburn Shaw divorce during pandemic

Division of assets

Never has it been more critical to ensure you seek solid advice before embarking on divorce and/or where there is a dispute around the division of assets. You will need to ensure that your position is protected during this uncertain time. Caution should be applied to any spouse embarking on a sale of assets and/or where there may be the threat of winding-up a business.

You will require advice on the alternatives if now may simply not be the best time to value and/or sell; it may instead be more appropriate for share transfer within a business interest and timing on that will be crucial to ensure you can capitalise on the tax relief available. Such could be done with restricted or no voting rights, for example, and provides a good solution to the current unknown without meaning a period of stalemate or feeling trapped.

Our lawyers are trained and experienced to the highest level and can advise you of any aspect of post- Covid divorce offering you the best and most cost-effective of solutions to your case.


If you are affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, please get in touch today. We are here to help you. 

9 Oct 2020

World Mental Health Day

“Employers have the ability to make real and tangible differences to the mental health of their employees.” Tomorrow (Saturday 10 October) is World Mental Health Day, and we are delighted to have senior employment lawyer Lucy Flynn, of our sister company Beyond Corporate Law, as a guest blogger discussing the important of mental health in the workplace. 

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1 Oct 2020

Legal 500: McAlister Family Law climbs to Tier 2

McAlister Family Law has climbed the rankings of Legal 500 and is now listed in Tier 2 - what an achievement for such a young law firm. 

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14 Sep 2020

Amanda McAlister discusses lockdown divorce - Talk Radio

Our managing partner Amanda McAlister was this morning (14 September 2020) a special guest on the Julia Hartley-Brewer show on Talk Radio, discussing the rise in divorce queries during lock down. 

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