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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Barlow Robbins LLP offers an impressive breadth of work, from financial disputes involving overseas assets, businesses, trusts and pensions to children issues. The offering includes ADR methods and Hague Convention expertise (it has joined the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit). The team also counts four collaboratively trained lawyers and two mediators in its ranks. Judith Ball is especially singled out for her handling of complex finance and pensions disputes and Joanna Farrands heads the children team; she has obtained a Legal Aid contract for abduction work.

Practice head(s):Judith Ball

Other key lawyers:Joanna Farrands; Mandy Spring; Helen Habershon; Mari Magnussen


'The firm gives excellent advice at an early stage which is sometimes hard to do. It also offer great value for money.'

'They provided a service to navigate the court procedures expertly and the firm as a whole played a great part enabling this process, which was very long and expensive. You need great tact and confidence to bring such complicated family matters to a satisfactory conclusion and I was very grateful I found this combination at the firm.'

'They have the expertise to serve a broad spectrum of clients'.

'Judith Ball is good -  she has built a formidable team'.

'Mari Magnussen is an excellent mediator'.

'Joanna Farrands is very realistic and knows how to get the job done, she steered me through a difficult process.'

Work highlights

  • A financial remedy case that has been reported and which involved an arbitration where the client appealed against aspects of the arbitration award.
  • A complex family arrangement, which involved issues regarding the relocation of children.
  • Represented a spouse on an  application for financial remedy in a cross-border case involving the US, Poland, the UK and the UAE.
  • Represented a spouse in financial remedy proceedings involving complex company issues that settled at a private FDR.

The Charles Russell Speechlys LLP team offers outstanding expertise in challenging children cases including international relocations, child protection  and abuse allegations and domestic and international adoptions. This is in addition to financial disputes over business assets, trusts, pension and tax issues. Karen Wilsher and Shona Alexander lead the team; William Rollin  has a focus on financial disputes side of divorces and the breakdown of civil partnerships and the 'well thought of' Felicity Chapman has significant expertise in areas including nuptial and cohabitation agreements and children and domestic abuse cases. The team is further boosted with the return of Claire Devine  following maternity leave.

Practice head(s):Karen Wilsher; Shona Alexander

Other key lawyers:William Rollin; Felicity Chapman; Claire Devine


'An excellent firm all round. The family lawyers are all efficient, well versed in this area of the law and approachable. Some other firms take on clients without appearing to give them a realistic opinion on the merits of their case and appear to be happy to run it just for the fees. This is never the case with CRS.'

'The family team work tirelessly for their clients, providing a thorough and detailed approach to case management and sensitive yet robust advice where needed. The presentation of their cases is second to none and yet they remain a very friendly and approachable team as a whole.  Their problem solving approach is to be commended.'

'I particularly rate Karen Wilshire. She is a very able and experienced lawyer.  She is both knowledgeable and practical and gives sensible and realistic advice to clients. She also has a very caring and empathetic manner which clients warm to.'

'Claire Devine has recently returned to CRS.  She is also approachable and knowledgeable.'

'Shona Alexander is a great leader of the family team.  Her technical knowledge is fantastic but she is equally approachable and easy to work with.'

'Felicity Chapman is also a very experienced solicitor who deals with some complex work.  Whilst the team will always push for the best outcome for their clients, they are also realistic and sensible in their approach, searching for the compromise where one is possible.'

Work highlights

  • Representing a spouse in complex financial proceedings involving assets across jurisdictions and held in complex structures and advising on issues relating to the children of the marriage.
  • Represented a spouse in complex financial proceedings which were successfully settled by way of private FDR. There were significant assets in the UK and Europe  and complicated tax issues to resolve.
  • Representing a spouse in respect of Family Law Act proceedings, divorce and financial remedy proceedings. Successfully obtained an ex parte non-molestation order and advised on financial matters.

Having merged with Pemberton Greenish, the Cripps Pemberton Greenish  team is noted for its 'strength in depth'. The team handles the gamut of work including wealth protection/nuptial agreements, co-habitation and children safety issues. The group also offers mediation and alternative dispute resolution services.  Alex Davies splits his time between the Kent and London offices and the 'exceptional'  Vanda James  is collaboratively trained and has long expertise encompassing financial remedy cases that often involves international elements in addition to children cases.

Practice head(s):Alex Davies

Other key lawyers:Vanda James; Claire Tollefson; Katy-Louise Allen


'Vanda James is a well-connected and an exceptional family lawyer'.

Work highlights

  • Advised the fourth generation of a familyon a pre-nuptial agreement.
  • Advised on a complex family arrangement, including children,  involving several countries and where an investigation was necessary to ascertain a spouse's wealth and assets.
  • Advised a spouse on divorce and financial remedy proceedings where a business was involved. The advice included tax issues and provision for children.

Lisa Jones and Claire Nickolds are highly rated for the large and growing niche team built at Jones Nickolds. Their expertise spans divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitation and private children work and many of the cases have international elements. The team handles contentious cases that can go to the High Court and Court of Appeal as well as those that are settled; the 'excellent' Rachel Woodd is a mediator and Laura Smail is a Resolution-accredited expert. The 'exceptional' Gemma Irving is highlighted for her adept handling of complex financial and children cases.

Practice head(s):Lisa Jones; Claire Nickolds

Other key lawyers:Rachel Woodd; Laura Smail; Gemma Irving


'They have carved a niche in Kent and seem to be well connected. They are well led by Claire Nickold and Lisa Jones.'

'Gemma Irving has undertaken cases impeccably and I have received universally excellent feedback from the people I have referred.'

'Gemma Irving is an exceptional lawyer who provides rigorous City advice standards at considerably more affordable rates.'

'The team is female only, highly experienced with a wealth of family law know how. All intelligent, practical and sensible plus extremely experienced.'

'I worked with Laura Smail who was brilliant throughout. A kind, compassionate highly intelligent solicitor with 20 years of family law experience. Extremely sensible, hardworking and knows her stuff!'

'Rachel Woodd is excellent.  A safe pair of hands who deals with matters in a calm, sensible outcome-focused way.'

Work highlights

  • Represented a spouse in financial remedy proceedings and which included an application to uphold a pre-nuptial agreement. There were also ongoing Children Act proceedings.
  • Acted for a spouse in the first arbitration dealing with combined financial and children matters.
  • Acting for a parent in complex and wide ranging children proceedings and which included an application for leave to remove the children from the UK.

The Mundays LLP team which 'is ably led by' Miranda Green, attracts demanding and high-profile cases, many of which involve overseas complications including dealing with financial applications following divorces in other jurisdictions. It advises on areas including pensions, tax and Children Act matters and the team offers three mediators and two collaboratively-trained practitioners. Judith Fitton specialises in high-value financial matters, often involving investigations and cohabitee claims.

Practice head(s):Miranda Green

Other key lawyers:Sarah Duckworth; Judith Fitton; Rachel Lemon

Work highlights

  • Acting for a spouse in divorce, financial remedy claims and Children Act proceedings where there were various assets in a number of jurisdictions.
  • Advising a client in divorce and financial remedy proceedings in a same-sex marriage where there was a pre-nuptial ageement executed in another jurisdiction.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's clients include high-net-worth individuals with more than £10m in assets.  Its comprehensive expertise spans financial and children matters together with tax, property and reputation management. Veronica Gilmour handles complex financial issues often with challenging jurisdictional complications and is also an expert on foreign pensions. Rachel Donald is an expert on pre-nuptial agreements and where company assets are involved and Lee Henderson has experience of surrogacy cases.

Practice head(s):Veronica Gilmour

Other key lawyers:Rachel Donald; Laura Naser; Laura Hughes; Lee Henderson


'Pennington's Guildford office offers the quality of representation of a central London practice. There are very few other 'Rolls Royce' practices outside of the country's big cities.'

'This is one of the top firms with offices outside London.  The family lawyers in the Guildford office provide London-quality service and expertise.'

'Veronica Gilmour is not only a highly experienced and accomplished lawyer but she genuinely cares about her clients. She is warm and personable and every client I have referred to her has reported how comfortable they feel working with her.'

'Laura Hughes is a senior associate with the full skill set one would hope for in a solicitor. She is a good lawyer and strategist, but also able to cope with strong personalities.'

'Associate Lee Henderson  is an exceptional lawyer and has that rare ability to be able to give his clients clear and difficult advice but in a way that makes them feel entirely supported by him.  He has incredible energy and his sense of needing justice for his clients makes him always go the extra mile.  He is one to watch for sure.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on a high-value, extremely complex international matter regarding the share of future income.  
  • An application for a child arrangements order following the breakdown of a surrogacy agreement.
  • Advising in financial proceedings involving a contested pre-nuptial agreement where wealth was located on- and off-shore.

The 'proficient' team at Stevens & Bolton LLP attracts some of the most complex financial remedy cases and disputes relating to nuptial agreements, advising clients including ultra high-net-worth individuals and business owners. It also handles cases where clients and/or assets are located abroad and private children matters. Nicola Harries has extensive experience in dealing with high-value divorce cases, usually involving complex financial proceedings and Caroline Gordon-Smith's broad practice includes disputes over children, especially where moving abroad is an issue.

Practice head(s):Nicola Harries

Other key lawyers:Caroline Gordon-Smith; Grace Parker-White; Sean Hilton


'They definitely aim for the top end of the market.'

'They attract HNW clients and are perceived as such.  They are pragmatic but not a push-over and work hard to achieve the best outcome for their clients.'

'Nicola Harries and Grace Parker-White are both considered very capable, very sensible, hard-working, creative, willing to negotiate and refer into the DR process for which they should be given credit.'

'We consider Sean Hilton to be one of the best associates within the market. His client care skills and judgement are second to none. You can guarantee that the lay client has already had the very best advice by the time they come to counsel.'  

Work highlights

  • Acted for a spouse in highly contested financial remedy proceedings involving substantial assets in the UK and Europe and significant expert evidence was required with regard to valuations.
  • Acting for a client in divorce and financial remedy proceedings in circumstances where the spouse lacked capacity which in turn triggered the involvement of the Official Solicitor to act as a litigation friend.

All of the team at Thomson Snell & Passmore are members of Resolution; four are also collaborative lawyers and two are mediators. It handles high-value financial work arising from divorce or the dissolution of civil partnerships and nuptial agreements in addition to complicated Children Act matters and domestic abuse issues. The group is headed by 'class act' Joanna Pratt,  who is supported by the highly experienced Kirstie Law and Desmond O’Donnell.

Practice head(s):Joanna Pratt

Other key lawyers:Kirstie Law; Desmond O’Donnell; Sarah Keily


'They are ably led by Joanna Pratt and supported by Kirstie Law. Desmond O’Donnell is a sensible solution-focused lawyer.'

'Joanna Pratt is very good  – a class act.'

Work highlights

  • Acted for grandparents in a Special Guardianship application in respect of their  grandchildren
  • Assisting a client on a collaborative case that involves considerable pension and other assets and an agreement regarding their children.
  • Advised on financial proceedings involving pension arrangements and extensive expert evidence in relation to business interests.

Charlotte Adler  'is building a great team at' Adler Family Law Solicitors LLP . It attracts high-profile clients for whom heading off reputational damage is a key issue. The team handles the gamut of family law cases using FDRs and other methods of settlement as well as contentious cases involving cross-border financial complexity or child abduction. This growing team includes a number of new associates including Aaron O’Malley who joined from Gowen & Stevens.

Practice head(s):Charlotte Adler

Other key lawyers:Nicola Beal; Aaron O’Malley


'They are a boutique matrimonial practice offering a central London service but based in Kingston.  Charlotte Adler who leads the firm has created a dynamic and forward-thinking team. The firm is regularly against central London and magic circle firms - it punches well above its weight. Magic circle firms often refer clients to Adler Family Law - when funding at magic circle level is no longer sustainable.'

'Charlotte Adler is the driving force at Adler Family Law  and is building it rapidly with a great pick of impressive calibre solicitors. She is effective and charming - networks phenomenally well.  She gives firm and pragmatic advice - and exercises great judgement in tricky cases - a skill that one cannot learn. She is my go to if I need to recommend someone to a solicitor.'

asb law LLP covers all facets of famly law; financial disputes and children matters arising from relationship breakdowns. It represents high-net-worth individuals, especially business and land owners. It provides tax and corporate advice and brings in accountancy and financial advisors when required. Stephen Smith who joined in early 2018 is now co-head of the group with Gail Brooks.

Practice head(s):Stephen Smith; Gail Brooks

Other key lawyers:Jackie Judd


'Jackie Judd is a standout along with her assistant Hollie Foreman. They can convey what you did not necessarily want to hear with total honesty.'

'Associate Gail Brookes is a very astute lawyer but what makes her stand out from her competitors is her ability to manage difficult clients to ensure that they remain focused on achieving their objective.'

'I got prompt replies to queries, they always made sure I fully understood what they were saying.'

Work highlights

  • Advising clients on nuptial agreements for the beneficiaries of a multi-million pound trust.  
  • Advising a spouse in contentious children and financial proceedings and  successfully achieved a shared care order in relation to the children and a 60/40 distribution of the assets in favour of the husband and defeating a joint lives spousal maintenance claim.
  • Advising a spouse on contentious financial remedies proceedings involving a pension fund  and various other assets and investments totalling over £7m. The matter required actuarial and pension  reports.

The Brachers team is highly respected for the quality and scope of its work which ranges from financial cases involving commercial or agricultural assets and trust structures to nuptial agreements and co-habitation issues. The team offers mediation and arbitration expertise and handles challenging family disputes involving children and other relatives including grandparents. Mark Leeson is a skilled mediator and Mei-Ling McNab's broad practice includes a focus on the agricultural sector.

Practice head(s):Mark Leeson; Mei-Ling McNab

Other key lawyers:Sophie Read


'One of the good regional firms with the ability to retain high-quality lawyers'.

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother who applied for a Child Arrangements Order that the children live with her and for a Prohibited Steps Order preventing the father from removing the children from her care. Serious allegations of abuse were made and the court found in favour of the mother.
  • Acting for a wife on contentious divorce and financial proceedings involving high-value assets and young children. The values of  assets, including a business and overseas properties are being contested and two FDAs have taken place.
  • Acting for a parent in a reported case concerning a child arrangement order, where there are allegations of historic abuse and past criminal proceedings.  Cafcass has been involved concerning safeguarding checks and the matter has been reserved to the High Court.

A substantial team at Family Law Partners undertakes the full range of finance and children cases with a strong focus on ADR methods. Collaborative lawyer Robert Williams is also a Deputy District Judge and deals with private children cases in addition to financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns. The 'really excellent' Gemma Hope and associate Lauren Guy handle divorce and financial remedy matters and Alan Larkin is spearheading the development of a number of technologies to promote access to advice in a more efficient and cost efficient manner. Kate Elliott, whose expertise includes financial and children matters, has joined the team from Starke & Co.

Practice head(s):Robert Williams; Alan Larkin

Other key lawyers:Lisa Burton-Durham; Gemma Hope; Kate Elliott; Lauren Guy


'I found everyone that I dealt with there kind, attentive, efficient and sensible.'

'Gemma Hope was against a large London law firm and was clear and sensible, tough when it mattered, and not a pushover.'

'Lauren Guy is an excellent up and coming solicitor and is very supportive of her clients.'

Work highlights

  • Assisting a client within a collaborative process where company assets and those held in trust and offshore and pensions are in issue. Accountancy and tax advisors were also co-opted.
  • Advising a client on a cohabitee separation within the collaborative process. Issues to resolve included co-parenting and a jointly owned business.
  • Assisting a client in respect of the breakdown of a relationship, financial remedy and child arrangements. The case involved issues of domestic abuse and the risk of a child being abducted out of the UK.

TWM Solicitors LLP  offers a range of expertise across the South East; Sarah Cornes, who is based in Wimbledon, undertakes financial settlement cases for high-net-worth individuals with businesses and overseas assets. Collaborative lawyer Demelza Patricio in Reigate deals with challenging children matters, cases involving drug and alcohol abuse, and also has expertise in dealing with sperm donor agreements. Mediator Caroline Keeley includes nuptial agreements and increasingly the break down of LGBT relationships in her experience.

Practice head(s):Sarah Cornes

Other key lawyers:Lynn Child; Demelza Patricio; Caroline Keeley


'They are well set up, well established and have good ethics.'

'Lynn Child is an excellent collaborative lawyer.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on a pre-nuptial agreement where complicated business arrangements and tax considerations are involved.
  • Following separation, assisted a client on agreeing on the shared care of children.

Warners Solicitors 'has an especially excellent reputation' whilst offering  great value for money to its local and non-UK resident clients. It is adept in wealth protection, cohabitation and children issues and provides tailored assistance ranging from private FDRs to litigation. It also offers a fixed fee for more straightforward divorce cases and provides pro bono help to organisations such as women's refuges. Matthew Aves' expertise includes dealing with cohabitation and land trusts disputes; Charles Tennant is noted for his advocacy skills and Abigail Eriksson-Lee undertakes a range of work for high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):Matthew Aves

Other key lawyers:Charles Tennant; Abigail Eriksson-Lee

Work highlights

  • Advising a wife with a significant income, after the breakdown of the marriage.
  • Acting for a wife in a complex Children Act matter involving repeated applications to the Court over the years.
  • Advised on divorce, finances and contested Children Act proceedings.

Blackfords LLP has a track record for dealing with highly complex children matters including wardships, adoption and care proceedings. Nicola Chamberlain represents both children and parents in these cases in addition to her broader experience dealing with the financial and other aspects of relationship breakdowns.

Practice head(s):Nicola Chamberlain

Other key lawyers:Helen Worden


'When I learn that I have a case on with Blackfords I know that it will be progressed sensibly and to a high professional standard. They are not arrogant and seek to work with the other side.'

'Nicola Chamberlain is firm but fair and is able to take a measured view in order to progress a case. She is pragmatic and capable and clearly enjoys a good rapport with her clients.'

Work highlights

  • Representing a wife in divorce proceedings where the husband has assets abroad as well as in the UK. The matter is complicated by related criminal matters.
  • Acting for a client in private law children proceedings. The case is highly contested as between the parents on the issue of residency and contact with the children.
  • Representing a parent in a case that involved allegations of 'baby shaking'.
  • Representing a mother in complex care proceedings and public interest immunity proceedings.

Boys & Maughan comes highly recommended for its Kent-focused work,  representing parents and children through divorce, separation, domestic abuse and care proceedings. It combines a collaborative approach with advocacy; Jonathan da Costa is a collaborative lawyer and 'exceptional advocate' Max Konarek is highly recommended for his work on behalf of children and vulnerable adults especially where allegations of serious abuse are concerned.

Practice head(s):Jonathan da Costa

Other key lawyers:Max Konarek; Holly Evans


'They make a superb public law outfit - incomparable to others in East Kent.'

'Max Konarek is very thorough and rigorous in his approach to cases.  His preparation for hearings is extensive and analysis of the relevant issues fully detailed. He is independently minded and a solid advocate for children.'

'Max Konarek is one of the top child care lawyers in the county. Thorough and diligent.'

Work highlights

  • Acted on complex and contentious financial remedy proceedings involving assets in excess of £1m and which involved a business and considerable disclosure issues and a FDR.  
  • Represented a client in the dissolution of a civil partnership of a gay couple. The matter involved a USA-based pension and pre-relationship accrual; an actuary was appointed and the couple agreed to a FDR hearing.  
  • Complex proceedings leading to combined orders under the Children Act, Family Law Act and TOLATA, followed by a resurrection of the proceedings concerning arrangements for the children which were concluded after two years of litigation.

The DMH Stallard LLP team undertakes a range of contentious financial work, especially in instances of non-disclosure and hidden assets. Mark Rennie acts on high-value matters involving businesses and assets based in the UK and abroad and is adept in drafting nuptial agreements. He and Siobhan Lomasney also deal with children issues. Collaborative lawyer Nigel Winter focuses on wealth preservation and senior associate  Marwa Hadi-Barnes has developed a specialism in pensions.

Practice head(s):Siobhan Lomasney; Mark Rennie

Other key lawyers:Nigel Winter; Marwa Hadi Barnes


'They have a tight-knit team that provides superb legal advice from small cases to the complex.'

'They have a local touch and understand the local judiciary.  They stand out for the local and regional competitors for their diligence and quality of work.'


Work highlights

  • Handling a highly contentious divorce with financial proceedings concerning an owner-managed business and the value of funds and assets. An FDR has been agreed to explore a settlement.
  • Advised on a divorce where the client owned a number of businesses and properties and where there were children from the present and previous marriage. Valuation of the husband's assets, tax and a review of family trusts were involved.

Stephanie Calthrop-Owen at Morrisons Solicitors LLP handles challenging cases where finances including overseas assets and family trusts and children are in contention. Many of her cases involve SME businesses and significant pension pots. She is ably assisted by Anne McAllister who is an accredited mediator and litigator.

Practice head(s):Stephanie Calthrop-Owen

Other key lawyers:Anne McAllister


'In my experience the team provide a great blend of objective advice and sensitive support for their clients.'

'Holly Chantler combines good technical ability with great instinct for the benefit of her clients. A very valuable asset to have on your side.'

'Stephanie Calthrop-Owen is very effective, efficient, clear thinking, professional, rational and kind.  Her team follow her lead. The team is both active and pro-active and they guide with a firm touch. I have referred others who also report very positively on their experience, especially in a complex international case. They are good value.'

Work highlights

  • Acted for a wife in a contentious case where there had been  voluntary financial disclosure by the husband but the dissipation and moving of assets resulted in a threat of an injunction and other litigation. The matter was then settled.  
  • Within complex family arrangement involving an off-shore trust,  a non-molestation injunction was sought  by the client on behalf of her child.
  • Obtained a shared residence order for a father concerning children where the mother had wanted to take the children out of the UK and prevent contact with the children.      

Stantons Solicitors assists clients on the financial and children issues arising from relationship breakdowns, often settling cases where the parties are hostile regarding the division of assets and the residency of children or where abuse is alleged. 'Well known' Jan Stanton and Raveen Baines are key contacts.

Practice head(s):Jan Stanton

Other key lawyers:Raveen Baines


'I was advised confidently and very professionally. In turn I therefore felt confident in my decision making.'

'Raveen Baines' advice was always assured, well explained and meticulous. She laid out clear and sensible options without reverting to pettiness or encouraging argument.'

'I directly work with Raveen Bains, who has always provided me with outstanding service, support and workmanship.'

Work highlights

  • Conducted a case involving  matrimonial remedy proceedings and TOLATA claims.
  • Acting in divorce proceedings with considerable complexity as the  client owns two companies in respect of which the wife is making a claim.
  • Acted for a client following a marriage breakdown and which involved property and children matters and which was complicated by issues of mental health within the family.

The Surrey and Kent offices of Stowe Family Law LLP law offer a comprehensive family law service to address divorce, same sex and cohabitation relationship breakdowns. The firm serves very high-net-worth clients with extensive UK and overseas assets with tax and pensions advice. Managing partner of the Esher office Emma Newman's expertise includes Children Act work and Kate Rayner, Holly Lamb and Sarah Hodges all offer broad financial remedy experience. Naheed Taj (managing partner, Reading) is also highly rated.

Practice head(s):Emma Newman; Kate Rayner

Other key lawyers:Naheed Taj; Holly Lamb; Sarah Hodges


'By reputation they are very good and are on the march - opened a London and Esher office.'

'They have a very professional, impeccable and caring approach with excellent management of time scales.'

'My experiences are of realistic advice, hard fighting and customer service above and beyond that which is usually offered.'

'Kaye Raynor genuinely cares as well as being highly professional and highly experienced.'

Naheed Taj is a fighter for her client and has years of experience and a depth of knowledge about the law. Will really go to bat for the client and fight their corner, whilst having the authority to talk them out of unrealistic positions or unhelpful tactics.'

Work highlights

  • A high-value case where there is a significant dispute as to the value of a company and the level of an exit payment.  
  • Acting for a husband in divorce with assets over £1.2m. The case went to a final hearing and the parties now await the outcome of request to appeal.  
  • Acting for a wife in a divorce where  assets are over £5m and include overseas property. Tax advice has been provided and the client is endeavouring to resolve the matter amicably.    

Sarah Haywood is the 'impressive' head of the ThomasHaywood Solicitors  family team. It handles financial cases, acting for high-net-worth individuals on complex disputes, often involving up to £10m in assets, and some of which are located overseas. It also deals in children cases and Haywood is an experienced mediator. Juliette Franklin deals with complex financial disputes, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and private law children matters.The team acted in a reported case involving a child in the Jehovah’s Witness religion where the extent to which the child should be part of the religious beliefs and practices of that religion was considered.

Practice head(s):Sarah Haywood

Other key lawyers:Juliet Franklin


'They have carved a niche in Tunbridge Wells and Sarah Haywood impresses.'

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of a child involved in the Jehovah’s Witness religion in a reported case which considered the extent to which the child should be part of the father’s religious beliefs.
  • Acting on behalf of the wife in a high-value case involving a number of complex international aspects.
  • Acting on behalf of a husband who owns a successful international business, in a financial claim. Agreement was reached by way of a FDR.
  • Acted for a wife in an unusual case where the court considered the 'necessity' requirement for expert evidence in relation to the wife's earnings.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes serves mid- and high-net-worth individuals in financial remedy applications including where there is overseas property or one of the parties resides abroad. Claire Schneck  specialises in TOLATA cases; Joanne McDonald's experience includes private children work and Kevin Bristow's broad expertise includes divorce and cohabitation disputes, nuptial agreements and children  issues.

Practice head(s):Claire Schneck

Other key lawyers:Joanne McDonald; Kevin Bristow


'Joanne McDonald was brave enough to take on my case. This could have been an extremely anxious time but the team made regular, clear and timely contact with me.'

'From my observations, Joanne McDonald is amiable, professional and well-liked and respected by her team. She goes beyond that which most would consider the normal call of duty.'

'Kevin Bristow was exceptionally good. He always explained clearly; was a calming influence in what was at times a stressful process and was proactive. I would not hesitate to recommend Kevin to someone else in similar circumstances.'

Work highlights

  • Acted on a contested divorce involving the valuation of a family business and complex disclosure issues. There was an appeal regarding the appointment of a Single Joint Expert, however, the case was successfully negotiated at the FDR.
  • Acted in financial remedy proceedings where financial disclosure was an issue and which was eventually resolved  by consent following the issue of proceedings. The assets in this case included pension provisions and the family home.

Coole Bevis LLP acts on the full range of finance and children matters, many of which involve an international element and assets including pensions and company holdings. Collaborative lawyer Susan Knight spearheads the work, often working with accountants. Charlotte Youdan represents children and guardians in complex care proceedings and Claire Parsons  is a mediator.

Practice head(s):Susan Knight

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Youdan; Claire Parsons


'Susan Knight is extremely experienced and knowledgeable and is a good tactician.'

'Susan Knight is excellent – a red meat litigator when she has to be, but decent and fair and is also really good at the collaborative. Well respected.'

Work highlights

  • Represented a wife in contested divorce and financial proceedings which included inherited and business assets and trust funds.
  • Acted for a father opposing an application by the mother for leave to remove a child out of the UK. The matter was not resolved through mediation and proceeded to a final two day hearing.

Dean Wilson LLP is highlighted for combining its expertise with a high degree of client care on complex financial remedy and children cases. Julian Hunt acts for a broad range of clients from high-net-worths to those of more modest means and employs both collaborative and litigation solutions on financial and children matters. Sarah Phillips  also has broad experience including financial remedy cases involving pensions, trusts and assets in foreign jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):Julian Hunt

Other key lawyers:Sarah Phillips


'The family team at Dean Wilson is led by Julian Hunt who brings experience and compassion to his cases. Julian always puts the clients first and this is part of the ethos of the entire family department. The quality of work is of a London standard but at a much lower cost to the client.'

'The level of client care and knowledge of the clients and their individual cases is particularly striking.  Instructions are always thoroughly prepared and clear.'

'Julian Hunt is one of the toughest negotiators but one of the most charming men you will ever meet.'

'Both Sarah Philips and Julian Hunt are a pleasure to receive instructions from. Julian's experience shines through. He provides his clients with a high level of support and presents their cases in the most thorough and persuasive fashion.  Sarah is very committed to providing each of her clients with the best possible representation and achieving the best possible result of each of them.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for a mother on divorce, finances and children matters with an allegation of assets being hidden in overseas jurisdictions.
  • Representing a client on divorce, finances and children issues, also involving domestic violence and a challenge to a prenuptial agreement.
  • Assisted a mother who wished to use a collaborative process. The parties became hostile but through shuttle collaborative means the matter was settled without recourse to litigation.

Rayma Collins heads an 'excellent' team at Furley Page Solicitors which undertakes the full scope of finance and children matters arising from relationship breakdowns. It frequently deals with cases where assets and pensions are based in foreign jurisdictions and the 'highly recommended' collaborative lawyer Naomi Hayward takes on both financial and children cases for high-net-worth clients.

Practice head(s):Rayma Collins

Other key lawyers:Naomi Hayward


'An excellent team who made me feel valued as a client from the outset and  throughout the process.'

'I had the good fortune to be working with Rayma Collins who had a grasp of the complex issues which a previous firm I used was struggling with.  Rayma has excellent recall for all the details of the case and was more than a match for the manoeuvres of the opposing solicitors.  Her sense of humour helped a great deal in providing a calming influence during some stressful times.'

'Naomi Hayward was incredibly helpful and responsive to all the questions and concerns I had. She has guided me through the separation, mediation and court processes. She is a true professional and incredibly knowledgeable in all relevant legal matters.'


Work highlights

  • Acting in a complex and high-value financial remedy case involving a successful business.
  • A collaborative case which was settled successfully, where there were a number of complications including pension and related tax issues.
  • Represented the client in a very contentious divorce and financial remedy case. A final settlement was achieved at a Private FDR.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP handles cohabitation, divorce and various financial and maintenance disputes but also tries to settle matters through ADR. Charles Le May, who is adept in these areas, undertakes his own advocacy and is also a collaborative lawyer. Emma van Bunnens undertakes financial remedy and private children cases including child arrangement and special guardianship orders. Associate Richard Adams is a collaborative lawyer who assists with financial arrangements and disputes relating to children as does Tia Harrison (formerly Clarke).

Practice head(s):Charles Le May

Other key lawyers:Emma van Bunnens; Richard Adams; Tia Harrison


'The team guided me through every stage of the divorce process, explaining everything in detail at all times.'

'The team is highly skilled, knowledgeable and organised and manages to ensure the best outcome for clients without building up unrealistic expectations.'

'Richard Adams is a good addition to their team.'

Work highlights

  • On a collaborative basis, divorce and financial matters were settled between a couple and an agreement was reached including regarding the husband's business and the marital home.
  • Acting for a client in defending an application by the ex-wife for financial relief following an overseas divorce.
  • Representing a  mother in complex child arrangements dispute following allegations of abuse.

Led by Elizabeth Leah, the rhw Solicitors team handles all aspects of relationship breakdowns including financial settlements, nuptial agreements and children matters. Managing partner Samantha Jago is highly experienced in resolving disputes involving  businesses and share options in addition to real property and children cases regarding residency and international abduction. The team is closely involved in community work and offers some pro bono assistance.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Leah

Other key lawyers:Samantha Jago




Work highlights

  • Acted on an international high-net-worth divorce involving properties in a number of jurisdictions and where the other party had disposed of or moved assets and wealth. Financial proceedings were issued in order to stem the flow of assets.
  • Acted for a father where an injunction is being considered due to allegations made by the other party aimed at preventing contact with his child, a matter further complicated by a cross-border element.
  • Acted for a client in a variation of maintenance calculation where it had been difficult to ascertain the extent of the spouse's overseas wealth and the client subsequently asserted that income streams had changed.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP assists with all issues surrounding relationship breakdowns including dealing with trusts, companies and other assets accrued  post-separation. It also assists with disputes over the residency of children. From the firm's Uckfield office, Alan Foster and Janet Raeburn offer a wealth of experience across all family law matters.

Practice head(s):Alan Foster

Other key lawyers:Janet Raeburn

Work highlights

  • Advising a high-net-worth client on the impact of divorce on his business and post separation earnings and assets .
  • Advised a client whose wife was a minority shareholder in the client's holding company. An agreement was negotiated prior to a FDR.
  • Advised a father who had not seen his child for many years and had a criminal caution. Following negotiations regarding resuming contact and the offer of a risk assessment the father was allowed to resume contact.

Specialist firm Starke & Co handles the full range of family law issues from pre-nuptial agreements to cohabitation disputes, financial settlements and children issues that arise from relationship breakdowns. Principal Andrew Delo offers decades of experience in all aspects of family law including complex financial disputes, and the collaboratively trained Sue Jago has extensive experience including in domestic abuse issues.

Practice head(s):Andrew Delo

Other key lawyers:Sue Jago;

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