Rise in number seeking family law advice

Free Legal Advice Centres (Flac) helplines have seen a “significant increase” in calls about marriage breakdown and divorce since Christmas with most coming from women.

Family law queries accounted for 35.5 per cent of all calls to Flac last week and have now overtaken employment law as the largest category.

Divorce and separation is “by far the biggest category” within family law, at 41 per cent, according to Erin Brogan, helpline manager. Non-marital family breakdown is also an issue.

“Over Christmas I would have expected more calls about breaches of access, or maintenance orders queries, but by far the main are relationship breakdown.

“There was a woman I was dealing with a lot before Christmas and her whole self-confidence was completely on the floor. She believed she was going to be kicked out the door because they weren’t married and she was in an awful state.”

Asked what was driving the increase in calls about relationship breakdown, she mentioned the ongoing Covid restrictions.

“Covid has amplified problems whether that’s addiction, financial issues, emotional issues. Then, releases like going out to work, going to visit parents for emotional support that would have helped with and masked those issues, they have been removed for many”.