The 'standout practice for all areas of family law in south Wales and the West, with an increasing national profile', Cardiff boutique Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice provides 'very practical advice' to private clients, including on high-value, cross-border financial remedy and private children cases. The 'outstanding' Melanie Hamer and the 'calm and thorough' Thea Hughes routinely handle complex and high-value financial remedy cases, as does the 'sensible and pragmatic' David James, who also regularly advises on private children matters. The 'technically sound and empathetic', Sarah Wyburn has niche expertise in relation to civil partnership and same-sex marriages and is a key member of the team that also includes Rebecca Knight, whose 'star quality' and expertise across a range of issues, including as it relates to surrogacy, was recently acknowledged by her promotion to partner in May 2020.
Family in Wales
Melanie Hamer; Thea Hughes; Sarah Wyburn; David James; Rebecca Knight
‘The firm provides very practical advice.’
‘Empathetic and yet still very focused and professional. ’
‘They are the standout practice for all areas of family law in south Wales and the West, with an increasing national profile. They have strong individuals at every level, and a positive and constructive approach to resolving cases.’
‘The whole team is very strong in terms of knowledge and experience.’
‘Sarah Wyburn is professional, technically sound, empathetic and has always achieved good outcomes for her clients.’
‘Rebecca Knight is star quality and without doubt a future partner.’
‘David James is a very experienced, sensible, and pragmatic professional.’
‘Thea Hughes is one the most highly regarded family lawyers in Cardiff and routinely handles complex high-value financial remedy work, bringing her calm and thorough approach to all cases. Thea is able to quickly grasp the fundamentals of a case, whilst also maintaining a strategic view of proceedings.’
‘Sarah Wyburn is one of the most hardworking and diligent lawyers I know. Her attention to detail is second to none.’
‘Rebecca Knight has a robust no nonsense style, which gets things done.’
Berry Smith's Bridgend and Cardiff-based team has developed a strong reputation in the local market across all aspects of private family work, particularly those involving high asset/business family disputes, and difficult children cases. 'Outstanding' team head Katie McColgan 'is a masterclass in case handling and maintaining a relationship with clients' and looks to diffuse potentially very emotive and challenging divorces through collaborative processes, including mediation, if possible.
Other key lawyers:
‘Katie McColgan is an outstanding solcitor who cuts right to the key information required for your case. She moderates any heated emotions you have and guides you to the correct thought processes. She is a masterclass in case handling and maintaining a relationship with clients.’
Able to tap into the expertise of corporate, commercial and tax lawyers from across the firm's full-service offering, should the need arise, Geldards LLP's two-strong team punches above its weight and is particularly effective for clients involved in medium and high-net-worth disputes which benefit from an integrated approach. 'Fair and clear in her advice but always fighting hard for her clients' interests', team head Gaynor Dickens is active across the spectrum of financial remedy and private children cases and has also developed a particularly strong reputation assisting high-net-worth individuals preserve their wealth through the implementation of both pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
‘This small team packs a punch when providing great quality accessible legal advice and assistance. The team is approachable and incredibly professional. ’
‘Gaynor Dickens is a hugely experienced litigator with great client care and eye for detail.’
‘Gaynor Dickens’ huge experience as a family lawyer shines through in her approach to clients. She inspires confidence in her representation and is admired by judges and opponents. She is fair and clear in her advice but always fights hard for her clients’ interests.’
Boutique Cardiff-based family law firm Grant Stephens Family Law continues to gain visibility in the market, not only as a result of the high calibre of its work, both directly from clients as well as referrals, but also by dint of some astute hires - the most recent of those being the arrival of Matthew Wells from RDP Law.
Grant James Stephens; Eleri Caryl Jones; Lisa Evans
Other key lawyers:
Harding Evans LLP
Recognised as 'one of the leading family law firms in the Gwent area' but with a reputation that transcends the local geographical environs, the four-strong Newport-based team at Harding Evans LLP provides a 'helpful and responsive service' across a range of private family law matters, including as it relates to high-value and complex matrimonial disputes. 'A really safe pair of hands for high-value financial remedy and private children work', team head Kate Thomas 'combines a truly empathetic manner to her clients, with a meticulous knowledge of her practice area'.
Other key lawyers:
Ceri Price; Suzanne Edwards; Leah Thomas
‘The firm is known for its matrimonial expertise, particularly in high value and complex matrimonial disputes.’
‘Harding Evans is one of the leading family law teams in the Gwent area. It is known to be highly professional, reasonable in its approach to litigation and fees, and sensible with opponents.’
‘Kate Thomas is extremely capable, proactive and displays an excellent attention to detail.’
‘Kate Thomas is a really safe pair of hands for high-value financial remedy and private children work. Kate combines a truly empathetic manner to her clients, with a meticulous knowledge of her practice areas. Kate is renowned for adopting sensible and realistic positions, which help manage the expectations of the clients.’
The 'friendly and approachable' six-strong team at Hugh James provides a 'commercial and professional' service to clients throughout the divorce process, whether it be resolved through a collaborative mediation-based approach, or if necessary in a more contentious setting, where it frequently handles its own advocacy. 'Highly skilled and thorough' team head Adrienne Donneky provides 'straightforward and no-nonsense advice' to a range of medium to high-net-worth clients, including business persons, going through divorce proceedings and brings added value to cases involving complex pension, trust or business issues. The team is also well regarded for its public children work, an area that consultant Mark Powell (who is the only practising QC solicitor in Wales) and associate Sara Tomaszewski have particular expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Powell; Belinda Moseley; Sara Tomaszewski
‘The team is highly regarded as a standout performer in the sphere of family law. There is a spread of experience to ensure that a suitable lawyer is allocated to the case. Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that the team also works as a whole to ensure that cases are as fully prepared as possible. The work undertaken is thorough and addresses the issue that require addressing.’
‘Friendly, professional and approachable staff who offered sound legal advice.’
‘Very commercial and professional in their outlook, complements the rest of the firm’s practice areas very well in terms of services offered to private clients.’
‘Adrienne Donneky is highly skilled, thorough, and realistic. I always recommend her to other professionals, and to lay clients. ’
‘The very efficient and shrewd Adrienne Donneky is really experienced and down to earth. She gives clients straightforward and no-nonsense advice, has a keen eye for detail and anticipates likely issues coming down the line. She is particularly well-respected by business persons going through divorce proceedings due to her knowledge of commercial matters.’
‘Belinda Moseley is a very pleasant and engaging practitioner, clients respond well to her and she has an empathetic approach, whilst at the same time being pragmatic and efficient.’
'Well-established and respected in the local area', Neath-based firm Hutchinson Thomas provides a 'high standard of solution-based advice' to clients across a broad range of family law matters. 'Extremely knowledgeable and sympathetic' senior partner Robert Williams leads by example and excels at providing 'sensible and pragmatic advice' to clients undergoing divorce proceedings which often involve the settlement and division of complex assets. The firm also excels at handling childcare matters, and led by Debbie Richards , who is one of three children accredited panel members at the firm, is regularly instructed by Cafcass, parents and local authorities, in often highly complex cases, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury and sexual abuse.
Other key lawyers:
Debbie Richards; Meriel East; Rachel Pudner; Simon Thomas
‘The team showed professionalism throughout, while maintaining a high standard of solution-based advice.’
‘Hutchinson Thomas are a very professional and efficient practice.’
‘The firm is both well established and respected in the area.’
‘Robert Williams leads by example, developing close working relationship with clients and seeking sensible pragmatic outcomes. He is very good at explaining to clients the issues involved and the actions needed to resolve the matter to the client’s satisfaction.’
‘Robert Williams has an absolute wealth of knowledge, is fair and extremely understanding.’
Although Ince's family law team is relatively small in comparison with some of its peers, it benefits from strong collaborative ties with the firm's London and Bristol offices, in particular, and is therefore able to effectively resource a significant volume and range of family law matters. Team head Susan Williams 'stands out for her client care' and continues to handle an eclectic caseload, including ancillary relief and private children matters, as well as an increasing number of instructions involving cross-border issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has the welfare of its clients at its core, with every lay client being as important as the other. There is a real empathy for what clients must be going through, particularly in care cases and particularly during the pandemic. The firm goes above and beyond to support each client and ensure that the best outcome is obtained for them.’
‘ Susan Williams stands out in relation to client care and very good organisation of the case papers and case information in particular.’
With seven fee-earners situated across the firm's south east and west Wales offices, JCP Solicitors has the strength-in-depth and geographical coverage to be well-positioned to handle the full range of family law matters, including complex financial remedy matters and private children cases. Caerphilly-based team head Jill Bulteel excels in both these areas and is appreciated not only for her 'exceptional knowledge and experience in family law' but also for the 'empathy and compassion' she exhibits. 'Strong, kind, courteous, honest and considerate', Carmarthen-based associate Angela Killa displays 'excellent communication skills in both Welsh and English', which she utilises to good effect on complex children matters. 'Outstanding' Caerphilly-based associate Laurie Taylor is also recommended across both children and financial remedy cases and is noted for her 'compassionate approach'. Sali Jackson-Thomas retired in September 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Angela Killa; Laurie Taylor; Claire Davies
‘The team at JCP Solicitors has provided exceptional support to my circumstances. The knowledge and advice during every step of the process in handling my case has been exceptional.’
‘Angela Killa’s guidance has always been superb.’
‘Laurie Taylor is compassionate and has put me at ease through the most horrendous time of my life and for that I cannot recommend her enough.’
‘Jill Bulteel has always been on hand to support me – her knowledge and experience in family law is exceptional and has shown incredible support and compassion during my most difficult periods during the process. She has shown empathy and understanding and provided best advice for an amicable resolution to my case.’
Demonstrating 'dedication and tremendous hard work for their clients', which includes high-net-worth individuals at one end of the spectrum and the most vulnerable in society at the other, Watkins & Gunn Limited is 'hugely respected' across south east Wales for its expertise in ancillary relief matters and public children cases. 'Approachable' team head Sophie Hughes 'provides practical and sensible advice' and is noted for her collaborative approach to handling matters, which often involve highly complex financial arrangements. Kate Roberts leads the firm's specialised childcare team and 'consistently impresses with her sensible and grounded advice', as well as her ability 'get through to clients and help them to understand the issues in their sensitive cases'.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Roberts; Leah Rhydderch; Natalie Corten
‘The team always demonstrates dedication and tremendous hard work for its clients. They have a busy practice but always manage to balance the demands on them from their clients and counsel. ’
‘The approachable Sophie Hughes provides practical and sensible advice.’
‘Sophie Hughes is a class act and her expertise second to none.’
‘The team is a class act and one of the only teams in the region committed to non court-based outcomes.’
‘Kate Roberts consistently impresses with sensible and grounded advice. Her ability to get through to clients and help them to understand the issues in their sensitive cases is very impressive.’
‘Natalie Corten’s work is always well prepared and in order which makes it as easy as possible to take over a case for a hearing, even at a late stage.’
Led from Wrexham by Nathan Wright, GHP Legal's two-partner team provides a strong service to private clients throughout north Wales across a wide range of matrimonial matters, including on divorces involving high-value assets, significant business interests and pensions. The firm is also well regarded for its work in public law cases, an area that Natalie Roberts has developed a particularly strong track record by dint of her 'excellent' work for children's guardians in complex care proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
Natalie Roberts; Leah Mountford; Mari Sherrington
‘GHP Legal has a strong and large team which is able to cope with the many demands of modern practice.’
‘Natalie Roberts is an excellent solicitor who is always available to discuss a case and provide information.’
- Acting for a wife in a high-value divorce case that involves multiple properties.