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  1. Family: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
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Brethertons LLP’s family practice is led out of the Rugby office by Linda Jones and is supported by associate Rachel Adams, who works closely with Jones on complex matrimonial finance work involving high-value assets or difficult circumstances. They recently handles a complex case pertaining to the wife’s entitlement to business assets.

The family team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP handles complex, high-net-worth divorce matters, and expanded its offering with the recruitment of associates Sarah Millington from Hatchers Solicitors LLP and Harbinder Gosal from QualitySolicitors Davisons in the Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton offices respectively. The Telford-based Anne Thomson handles pre-nuptial agreements and recently represented a client in the Court of Appeal, while associate Joanne Vernon leads the firm’s child law practice and acted for the wife of a high-profile individual with regards to the relocation of their children. Philip Cowell and Elizabeth Cleverley, who has strong experience in acting for farming clients, are also recommended.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has ‘a good team at all levels’, led by Andy Caldicott and Kevin Harris-James, who recently acted for a well-known actor with regards to a pre-nuptial agreement. Senior partner Jonathan Brew has particular expertise in high-value claims and is regularly supported by solicitor Samantha Hulse and associate Anita Hennessey, both of whom ‘ensure that their client’s case is clearly and effectively put before the court’. Brenda Spain’s caseload included child matters, namely regarding issues pertaining to the proposed relocation of a child from England to South Africa, and financial issues related to child welfare.

Clients find Higgs & Sons to be ‘absolutely first-class’ and defined by ‘expert advice promptly delivered’. The family law practice is led by Philip Barnsley and was recently strengthened by the arrival of Claire Darley from Shakespeare Martineau LLP and Sioned Hetherington from Brendan Fleming. Barnsley’s team specialises in wealth protection and recently advised on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements, collaborative divorce and separation agreements. On the childcare front, Daley acted for a couple on their application for a special guardianship order, and handled a complex case involving international child relocation law, an emergency prohibited steps order and issues of radicalisation. Adam Maguire departed for Shoosmiths LLP and Hannah Nicholls joined Thursfields Solicitors.

The Kidderminster-based Claire Backler is ‘an exemplary individual’ and leads MFG Solicitors LLP’s ‘very well-organised and supportive’ family law outfit. The team works closely with the firm’s agricultural and family business clients and advises mainly on the financial issues arising out of collaborative separation, relationship breakdown, co-habitation, and pre-and-post-nuptial wealth protection. Gurdip Kaur Brring is currently advising a client with regards to divorce proceedings involving a substantial teacher’s pension, and acted for the fiancée of a high-profile sports personality in a pre-nuptial agreement. Alison Webber, who is based in Bromsgrove, and Robert Pearce in Kidderminster are also recommended.

Mercy Messenger is a niche firm specialising in all aspects of family law with a strong focus on family businesses in the context of divorce proceedings. Practice head and financial remedy expert Mercy Messenger is supported by David Messenger and associate Gemma Fenton, both based in the firm’s Solihull office. Recent work includes advising a wife on a Schedule 1 claim seeking to secure a lump sum payment from the sale of the jointly-owned property even though the respondent did not have the monetary status that would make him a typical target for such a claim. Fenton also led on an application for an interim order for sale in a case where the husband and his family were deliberately delaying and obstructing the valuation and transactional process of a derelict farm.

According to some, Thursfields Solicitors’s family team is ‘one of the best legal practices in the area of family law’. The ‘conscientious and very down-to-earthShane Miller (who attracts praise for her ‘combination of good legal knowledge and good sense’) leads the team, which expanded with the recruitment of Laura Williams from Hallmark Hulme, Hannah Nicholls from Higgs & Sons, Kelly Pougher from Sydney Mitchell LLP, and Alex Mansfield from George Green LLP. Recent work includes handling complex financial remedy applications, contesting wealth protection agreements and sensitive Children Act cases involving allegations of domestic abuse and cross-border abduction. Solicitor Sonali Obhrai left the firm.

Clients ‘cannot speak highly enough of the service received fromWright Hassall LLP, and single out matrimonial team leader Justin Creed for his ‘immense empathy’. His specialty lies in resolving complex, high-value financial matters involving farms, overseas assets, pensions and family-owned businesses. Creed is supported by Peter Lowe, who heads the firm’s private client practice, and Mercedes King-Jones, who has developed strong expertise in the rural sector. The team handled a high volume of financial disputes and financial remedy proceedings on behalf of high-net-worth clients, and advised a father on an application for the determination of the issue of his child’s education and change of residence. Solicitor Assmiea Hussain is also recommended.

Band Hatton Button LLP’s ‘extremely efficient and reliable’ family law practice is led by ‘fantastic listener and communicator’ Tracy Cross. The practice handles the full range of family law services, including care, and recently acted in high-value matrimonial finance cases involving inheritance issues, business assets and post-separation disputes. Recent children law matters included successfully obtaining a residence reversal in favour of its client whose children were born post-separation and whose mother refused to co-operate after the court’s decision. Other key contacts include experienced advocate Peter Martin and Helen Bowns, both of whom are also partners in the family team.

Duncan Watts LLP’s family law team consists of Resolution-accredited and mediation-trained lawyers Martin Croom, who handles complex financial matters in the context of divorce proceedings and children law cases, and Joanne Connor, who also sits as a first-tier tribunal judge. Solicitor Lindsey Patrick is also recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited handles all aspects of family law including divorces, wealth protection, contentious children matters and co-habitation agreements. Martin Ridings leads the practice and specialises in financial settlements following the breakdown of relations for high-net-worth clients including business owners, entrepreneurs and landowners. He is supported by senior associate Andrew Hall, who is experienced in complex child matters, including removal from jurisdiction cases.

Lanyon Bowdler’s family law practice acts for a strong rural client base and is headed by Colin Spanner, who splits his time between the Ludlow and Hereford offices and advises on wealth protection, financial disputes and children matters. The Telford-based Sue Hodgson has expertise in sensitive child disputes and recently represented clients with regards to applications for primary care base changes and cross-border relocation issues. Spanner, assisted by associate Caroline Yorke, acted on several high-value financial disputes, including one involving a jointly-owned property abroad which became a point of contention as the respondent attempted to put his assets beyond the client’s reach. Senior associate Lisa Grimmett regularly assists clients with collaborative matters.

At Aaron & Partners LLP senior associate and Shrewsbury office head Sandy Edwards is ‘a pragmatist who searches for and achieves resolution for her clients’. In recent work, the team acted for business owners and managers with regards to property and investment asset management issues arising from divorce proceedings, and handled a complex cohabitation dispute involving substantial rural properties. Lorraine Saunders is also recommended.

At Alsters Kelley LLP, the ‘advice provided is always highly appropriate and of unfailing quality’. Team head, trained collaborative lawyer and mediator Erica Kemp ‘always brings the important human element to the facts and has a sympathetic ear’. In Coventry, associate Catherine Stephens has strong experience in public law child care and High Court advocacy, while associate Emma Piff recently relocated to the Nuneaton office, joining associate Adrian Bannister, who specialises in public law.

Beswicks Legal’s ‘competent and efficient’ family team includes the ‘very knowledgeable and tenacious’ Amy Walklate, consultant Fiona Craig, who has ‘first-class knowledge of the divorce process’, and assistant solicitor David Lago. In recent highlights, the team represented a mother in the father’s application for a prohibited steps order as part of Hague Convention proceedings after she took her child to the family home in Majorca; and acted for a wife in a complex matrimonial finance dispute involving significant property and cash assets. The firm also acted in divorce proceedings where the husband had a serious alcohol dependency, and oversaw the application for a non-molestation order on behalf of a husband.

Associate Rachel Baker leads George Green LLP’s family law team from the Cradley Heath office and works closely with the firm’s private client and corporate teams to advise on matrimonial finance matters and wealth protection strategies. In Wolverhampton, the firm recently hired associate Mark Vandaele, who specialises in high-value divorces involving business structures and pension assets as well as contentious private law child work. He represented a wife in complex divorce proceedings where the husband owned interests in several businesses interlinked with family members and held a foreign property subject to a trust. Cradley Heath-based solicitor Jane Williams defended a husband whose wife left the family home with their infant child after having made serious allegations regarding his conduct.

Led by Nadia Davis, Martin Kaye’s family practice consists of four fee-earners and leverages the firm’s commercial client base, which includes entrepreneurs, business owners and executives. Davis regularly handles divorce cases involving high-value financial arrangements, business structures and pension assets, and is acting for a growing number of clients in the healthcare sector, including GPs and dentists, on wealth protection work, amongst other matters. Davis’ team also handles public and private law children work.

Pickerings Solicitors LLPhas excellent people at every level and attracts plaudits in the areas of child care and surrogacy’. Divorce and finance team head Susan Davies recently joined from Ansons and handles cohabitation agreements, divorce proceedings and wealth protection. Graham Pegg ‘commands a real respect from professional and lay clients’ and regularly handles surrogacy issues, adoption, contact and special guardianship law. He is supported by solicitor Richard Westley, who ‘has the making of an exceptional childcare solicitor’, and consultant Robina Boydon, who heads the firm’s children law team. Solicitors Rachel Burchell and Joanna Craddock are also recommended.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors’s lawyers ‘have a strong reputation in family law’, with clients singling out ‘sensitive but tenacious’ legal executive Rebecca Franklin, who is ‘excellent at handling clients and able to sort the true issues within a case’. She recently advised clients with regards to an unusual child contact case, a financial dispute regarding a mortgage-free matrimonial property, and represented a client threatened with injunction proceedings pertaining to high-value funds he had control over.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Family: Elsewhere in the West Midlands

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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