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Clients report that Barlow Robbins LLP 'has an experienced family team and in particular offers an excellent family mediation service’ and that ‘while fighting hard for its clients it provides realistic advice’. The group handles the gamut of complex financial and children cases including a range of Children Act, abuse and abduction matters. Head of department  Judith Ball has considerable experience, especially in complex financial cases involving nuptial agreements, trusts and pensions. Together with senior associate Mandy Spring, her recent work includes resolving a finance matter concerning properties in three jurisdictions and which had proceedings pending overseas. The ‘excellent’ Joanna Farrand, who leads the children's team is ‘proactive and collaborative to work alongside’ and experienced mediator Karen Barham ‘is very innovative in her approach to difficult disputes which invariably result in a sensible settlement’.  

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, 'the overall level of service is exceptionally high and advice is strategic but is in line with common sense’. The team attracts high-net-worth and often well-known clients where substantial assets and the need for discretion are paramount. It also handles nuptial agreements and proceedings under the Children Act. Shona Alexander jointly heads the team with Karen Wilsher, who is singled out as ‘an outstandingly good lawyer who has good client skills and is able to build rapport with even the most difficult of clients’. Senior associate William Rollin is a ‘first-rate’ lawyer ‘who can navigate the most complex legal situations’, and fellow senior associate Felicity Chapman specialises in collaborative lawyer and handles both financial and children's issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Cripps LLP is ‘a top tier firm, from the quality of the work it attracts, to the quality of the solicitors dealing with the work’. Alex Davies is ‘a top-class act, who inspires confidence and achieves excellent outcomes for clients’ and is also credited with having ‘built up a brilliant team’. The group handles heavyweight financial remedy matters together with children disputes including the removal of children from the jurisdiction and abuse cases. Arbitration and mediation are also offered as are fixed fee arrangements. ‘Tough negotiator’ Vanda James handles the gamut of issues arising from relationship breakdowns and ‘has the experience to deal with the most difficult cases with ease’. Katy-Louise Allen, who is collaboratively trained and qualified as a mediator, ‘is incredibly pragmatic and is amazing with clients’ and associate Helen Fisher is considered ‘a real up-and-coming solicitor’.

Led by Miranda Green, Mundays LLP’s team is ‘efficient, professional, considerate and personable with excellent knowledge in the area of family law’. It assists clients with high-value financial matters as well as children law issues, especially those with cross-jurisdictional complications and matters involving overseas assets. It also advises on nuptial agreements, tax and pension advice and its team includes mediators and collaboratively trained practitioners. Judith Fitton’s expertise ranges from financial investigations, including those relating to overseas assets to assisting cohabitees following relationship breakdowns. Collaborative lawyer Sarah Duckworth is a trained mediator and is appreciated for ‘recommending the best approach to take at all times while being kind and considerate during stressful times’. Rachel Lemon is also noted for her private law children and financial disputes expertise.

According to one client, Stevens & Bolton LLP's team is 'a beacon of quality'  and'the client’s best interests are at the centre of its values'. The team handles all aspects of family breakdowns, including divorce and civil partnership dissolution, financial arrangements and proceedings, nuptial agreements and children's law matters. Its work often involves cross-border complications involving residency or assets in various jurisdictions. Nicola Harries, who heads the team, is'calm and professional and provides good advice' and clients 'trust her judgement'; she is a key name for high-value relationship breakdowns, often involving complicated financial proceedings. Other key practitioners include collaboratively trained Caroline Gordon-Smith, whose expertise spans both financial and children's law work, and senior associate Grace Parker-White; the duo are'constructive throughout the process with a view to the de-escalation' of the conflict.

Thomson Snell & Passmore Tunbridge Wells's team is ‘highly rated for the quality of its work and client care’ skills. The team is noted for its commitment to resolving conflicts through collaboration and mediation in the course of handling the full range of financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns, nuptial agreements and children law issues, especially those relating to domestic and overseas relocation. The ‘sensible, bright and pragmatic’ team leader, Joanna Pratt, recently handled a number of prenuptial agreements concerning some tens of millions of pounds as well as children law matters. Desmond O’Donnell is ‘a calm, focused mediator’ and collaborative lawyer and mediator Kirstie  Law ‘is a great negotiator’. Sarah Judd handles a range of financial and children law matters and is also noted.

From its offices in Crawley and Maidstone, asb law LLP's group handles financial remedy matters, children work and wealth preservation via nuptial and cohabitation agreements for local clients including business owners. It works in conjunction with the private client team headed up by Ellen Lambert  and provides tax, trusts and property advice to its high-net-worth clients. Associates Gail Brooks, Jackie Judd and Anna Scales are handling a number of contentious cases including a contested divorce where there was an attempt to remove children from the family home without consent. The well-regarded Stephen Smith joined the team from Brachers in February 2018 as a consultant.

Brachers fields 'a good strong team’ from its Maidstone base. Its recent work includes substantial nuptial agreements, a complex relocation case, domestic abuse and matrimonial cases with complicating international aspects including the removal of children from the jurisdiction. Financial cases often involve businesses and trust structures, where it is able to draw on the firm's tax, commercial and property experts. ‘Fantastic lawyers’ Mei-Ling Nab and Mark Leeson jointly head the team and associate Sophie Read undertakes both Children Act and financial proceedings.

From its main base in Brighton, Family Law Partners has a strong commitment to resolving financial and children disputes through collaboration, mediation and arbitration. The firm is also involved in the development of specialist technology for use by both clients and lawyers. The team’s recent work includes a multi-million pound divorce case using the arbitral process and which involves overseas assets and children issues. It is also handling disputes pertaining to pre-nuptial agreements, child residence and relocation issues. Robert Williams primarily handles financial remedy cases with a focus on  arbitration; ‘first-rate, empathetic family lawyer' Alan Larkin focuses largely on challenging financial remedy cases and collaborative lawyers Lisa Burton-Durham and Gemma Hope are active in both children and financial cases.

At Jones Nickolds, the team provides ‘immediate response times, is hugely intelligent, pragmatic and vastly experienced in all aspects of family law’ and has ‘a very collaborative’ approach. Founding partners Claire Nickolds and Lisa Jones ‘are excellent lawyers and know their stuff.' and 'are sensible but no push overs’. The specialist, substantial team handles all aspects of divorce and other relationship breakdowns including private children work, co-habitation and nuptial agreements. Many of the practitioners are collaborative lawyers and mediators including  Rachel Woodd, who is ‘a fabulous mediator and sensitive in handling difficult clients'. Gemma Irving is another noted lawyer as is Mai-Ling Ho, who joined the team from Camilla Baldwin in January 2018. Laura Smail provides ‘sensible and pragmatic advice from the outset and is good at progressing cases to settlement’.

Penningtons Manches LLP fields a team that is ‘very able and in turn very strong’. It routinely attracts cases involving multi-million pounds of corporate and other assets, trusts and pensions, including those located in overseas jurisdictions as well as nuptial agreements and child location disputes. Veronica Gilmour, who leads the team ‘has a superb reputation' and 'a combination of intellect, soft skills and gravitas’. She frequently assists international families where high-stakes assets are located in various jurisdictions and often where divorce proceedings had taken place in other countries. Rachel Donald, who is considered ‘without doubt a star of the future’, handles complex financial remedy matters, wealth protection and child arrangement disputes. Senior associate Laura Hughes and associate Lee Henderson are highly recommended for their excellent client handling skills.

TWM Solicitors LLP's team, while focused on collaborative law and mediation, is experienced in Family and High Court proceedings. Its work traverses financial settlements often involving family businesses, trusts and offshore assets, nuptial agreements and Children Act disputes. Practice head Sarah Cornes, who is based in the Wimbledon office, stands out for her ‘impeccable professionalism, tenacity and discretion’ and Demelza Patricio, who is based in Reigate, is ‘calm under pressure while providing clear, pragmatic advice’. Sarah Bostock and Louise Connolly are also highly regarded, as is the highly experienced Lindsey Alexander, who ‘is excellent at setting expectations’.

Warners Solicitors has expertise in high-value financial remedy cases frequently involving cross-border complications together with tax advice. It also handles nuptial agreements, cohabitation disputes and the related children issues. The group is ‘very good with clients, maintaining a high quality of work while being costs conscious’. It also has ‘strength at all levels with a good band of excellent associate solicitors offering good value for money’. Practice head Rayma Collins, Matthew Aves and Charles Tennant, together with the ‘astute and sensible’ associate Alice Scambler, are noted as is Philip Raggett, who is a key name on the tax and trusts sides.

Adler Family Law Solicitors LLP is a niche practice that is ‘a highly respected and forward thinking’. Its clients include well-known and high-net-worth individuals and it frequently handles divorce cases where an extensive range of assets and business interests are in issue in the UK and overseas. The team also has expertise in handling cases of child relocation or abduction. Charlotte Adler ‘is an exceptional talent, has the ability to get to the heart of the issue quickly and is able to deliver difficult messages effectively’. The ‘excellent’ Nicola Beale is experienced in dealing with the range of financial and children issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Blackfords LLP's family group ‘combines hard work with legal acumen, dedication and excellent judgement', and is led by Nicola Chamberlain. The team handles a range of financial matters arising from family breakdowns and has a particular focus on children work, both private and public and including care proceedings. The team is also able to draw on its well-respected criminal practice to assist with related criminal charges. The team also handles adoption cases outside the jurisdiction and child abduction cases. Helen Worden ‘is calm, methodical and brings rigorous challenges to cases’ and Elizabeth Cape Cowens is ‘a highly effective lawyer’.

Following its merger with Rawlinson Butler in mid-2017, DMH Stallard LLP fields a team whose work ranges from nuptial agreements, financial remedy proceedings often with competing jurisdictional claims, to children matters such as residency or removal from the jurisdiction. It also tackles enforcement proceedings where financial obligations are not met or there is non-compliance with court orders. Mediator Robert Worthing has a focus on financial resolution cases as well as inheritance and property disputes between unmarried partners. The ‘supportive and knowledgeable’ Nigel  Winter has some 20 years of experience in assisting high-net-worth families following breakdowns. Senior associate Marwa  Hadi is also noted for being ‘clear and concise and very approachable’.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP is highly regarded for financial remedy and private children work. It acts for high-net-worth individuals and has a specialism in cases where small- to medium-sized businesses and pensions are involved. Practice head Stephanie Calthrop-Owen, who provides ‘value for money and the advice of a seasoned professional’, handles a range of complex financial disputes, often with overseas complications together with relocation and related children matters. Senior associate and qualified mediator Anne McAllister assists clients with settling financial issues resulting from relationships breakdowns. Emma Newman joined Stowe Family Law LLP in September 2017.

Stantons Solicitors 'is extremely good, efficient, sympathetic and helpful’ in advising on the range of issues arising from relationship breakdowns. Its work focuses on negotiating financial settlements, including property and pensions, and it also handles disputes including those involving assets abroad, hidden assets and the residency of children. Jan Stanton ‘has a wealth of experience' and ‘understands the need for empathy but also has a steely approach that means you feel reassured that she will fight your corner, firmly but fairly’.

Boys & Maughan has expertise ‘across the whole field of family law’ and is well regarded for ‘its commitment to its clients’ and for ‘providing realistic advice’. Jonathan Da Costa leads a team that handles matters ranging from property division, pension issues and financial remedy proceedings as well as children matters including those involving care proceedings and abuse cases. It also has well-honed collaborative law and mediation capabilities. Mary-Joyce Insaidoo is another key member of the team.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes acts for mid- and high-net-worth individuals or their partners in financial remedy cases involving substantial assets and pensions, some located abroad. It also handles Children Act applications relating to various child living arrangements. Claire Schneck is experienced in financial remedy disputes, TOLATA and children matters and Kevin Bristow's work includes cohabitation and nuptial agreements, civil partnership disputes and children matters.

At Coole Bevis LLP, the ‘skilful, thorough and dedicated’ team provides advice that is ‘genuinely faultless’. It handles the spectrum of divorce and financial proceedings often including offshore assets and trust funds. Its children work covers representing children and guardians in care proceedings, removal from the jurisdiction and Child Arrangement Orders. Practice head Susan Knight ‘has a huge wealth of experience in this field’ and her advice is of a 'high calibre' and Charlotte Youdan ‘is thorough and precise and an excellent advocate’. Associate Helen Evennett is highlighted for her experience in children matters including care proceedings and has ‘an excellent rapport with clients’ and fellow associate Claire Parsons is ‘extremely efficient and has a keen eye for detail’.

Dawson Hart  ‘has a recognised expertise in high-value financial cases representing professionals and business people from all sectors’. Practice head Mahie  Abey ‘has an excellent grasp of the law, is very client focused and deals with complex situations with skill and a clear grasp of the issues'. Caroline Bourn’s collaborative law practice is highlighted together with her ‘grasp of details combined with a very approachable manner’. In addition to handling the financial issues arising from divorce and the breakdown of civil partnerships, the team also resolves Children Act issues and children residency matters.

Griffith Smith LLP fields ‘an excellent team’ and provides ‘great value for money'. The group advises on all issues arising from relationship breakdowns including those relating to tax, trusts and real estate matters. Susan Hayes’ expertise covers both privately and publicly funded financial and children matters with a focus on wealth preservation, and ‘she is a stand out financial remedies solicitor in Sussex’. Sue Diplock , whose expertise includes public and private children disputes, is collaboratively trained and Marcella Helm is also noted, especially for her children law work.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP handles the full range of disputes in this space and its workload ranges from nuptial agreements, financial settlements and TOLATA matters to issues related to domestic violence and private children arrangements and special guardianships. The team provides ‘a consistently high quality service to a wide client base’. Charles Le May is ‘a very experienced family practitioner, who is well liked by his clients who can safely put their lives in his hands’. Zoe Summers 'fights hard for her clients for the best possible outcomes’ and Tia Clarke impresses with her ‘realistic advice’.

rhw Solicitors is ‘a highly respected local firm’ that has a ‘pragmatic' approach and is 'knowledgeable without being aggressive'. The team handles financial matters, which involve on- and off-shore assets, real estate assets and trusts, as well as residency and children abduction cases and matters involving domestic violence. Head of department Elizabeth Leah is ‘a hugely experienced family lawyer, an excellent communicator and a skilled negotiator’, who is ‘well supported by junior staff’. Qualified mediator Samantha Jago stands out for ‘being able to reach a commercial and sensible compromise’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP is recognised for its strong private client offering, which blends family, trusts, probate and tax expertise. The team handles a range of financial remedy cases especially where company assets and trusts are concerned, including those located overseas. The ‘excellent’ Alan Foster, who ‘is good with clients and always takes a pragmatic approach’, heads the private client department; associate Helen Noble, who is a mediator and collaborative lawyer, undertakes a range of financial and children matters and, together with senior legal executive Maria Steele-Williams, provides ‘an exceptional service’.

At Starke & Co, ‘the overall level of service is exceptional’ and, under the leadership of Andrew  Delo, ‘they have gone from strength-to-strength’. The team handles an array of financial remedy cases following relationship breakdowns together with children issues. Delo is ‘fearless in his negotiations and as good an advocate as he is a solicitor’. Sue Jago ‘brings great experience to a thriving team’ and Kate Elliott ‘is a forward thinker who makes no decision without first contemplating all the potential consequences and fiercely protects her clients’ interests’.

Stowe Family Law LLP is ‘an excellent firm that is very strong in both Children Act matters and in financial remedies’ and fields ‘a young and dynamic team’. The ‘outstanding’ Emma Newman joined the Esher office from Morrisons Solicitors LLP as managing partner in September 2017 and the Tunbridge Wells office is headed by Kate Rayner, who is ‘very knowledgeable, fair minded and easy to work with while also direct and straight talking’. Holly Lamb , who is also based in Tunbridge Wells, is ‘adept at providing realistic and timely advice’. Its client base includes several who are resident overseas and it handles matrimonial disputes involving complex, high-value assets. It also assists clients with nuptial agreements, co-habitation and children issues.

ThomasHaywood Solicitors's team provides ‘a bespoke service to its clients’, which largely comprise high-net-worth individuals, and it is adept at advising on matters where family businesses, trust structures and overseas assets are involved. Sarah Haywood is ‘a master tactician’ and ‘outstanding family lawyer’, who handles complex children disputes in addition to financial matters, and consultant Juliet> Franklin is also noted for her expertise in complex children matters and financial disputes.

The team at Whitehead Monckton is led by Dawn Harrison, who is experienced in financial provision, pensions, co-habitation law and children matters. The practice has expertise in collaborative law and frequently acts for high-net-worth clients, often advising on international assets and business interests. It also assists with children matters, including handling contested child arrangement orders. Graham Jones is a mediator who handles the gamut of family law matters.

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Legal Developments in South East for Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

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