About this service

All fee earners within our family department have a detailed knowledge of the law and procedures relating to all aspects of family law, and have extensive experience in representing clients at what is often a very difficult and emotional time in their lives. We build strong relationships with our clients, offering a personal tailored service to each individual client, having regard to their needs and resources. We are sympathetic to our clients and offer support and reassurance, listening to what they have to say, whilst also managing their expectations and providing clear and practical advice. The solicitors within the family department are members of Resolution, and we adhere to their code of conduct.

Divorce and Separation

The breakdown of any relationship, whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting, can cause distress and anxiety, not only to the parties themselves, but also to their children and extended family. It is a common assumption that the more complex cases involve families with substantial assets and investments, including business interests and trusts, but our experience has shown that it is often the situations where families have limited assets and resources, that are more difficult to resolve. We are able to offer expert advice and assistance to clients from all walks of life, in relation to the issues that arise from a divorce or separation, with our focus always being to ensure that the needs of the particular family are met.

Children Issues

Whilst being a parent may be one of life’s most rewarding experiences, it can also be the most difficult and challenging job in the world. The welfare of a child is always the primary consideration, when determining any issue concerning his or her upbringing.Whilst parents are always encouraged to reach agreement as to the arrangements for their children, unfortunately this is not always possible, particularly when emotions are running high following the breakdown of a relationship. As time goes by, issues may also arise as the circumstances of one or both parties’ change, and particularly as a child grows older and is able to express his or her own wishes and feelings.

The fee earners in our family department all have a detailed knowledge and understanding of the law and procedures relating to the resolution of disputes concerning children. We have extensive experience in dealing with applications covering a wide range of issues, including the determination of the day to day living arrangements of a child; disputes as to paternity; specific issues such as the name by which a child should be known or the school they should attend; and the removal of a child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, whether for the purpose of a holiday or as a permanent relocation. We have also acted for grandparents and other members of the child’s extended family, in relation to applications for a child to live with that relative or to spend time with them, to include applications for a Special Guardianship Order.

We also have experience of assisting families who wish to adopt a child, and step-parents who wish to acquire Parental Responsibility.

Cohabitation Agreements and Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Whilst the general conception is that clients only require a family law solicitor when a relationship breaks down, there are occasions when we are able to offer advice and assistance to individuals who are at a much happier point their life, and who are about to make a formal commitment to their partner, whether through cohabitation or marriage. In some cases, particularly where an individual may already be divorced or have children from another relationship, they wish to take steps to protect, as far as possible, any assets and investments they have acquired. We are able to provide advice and assistance to clients in relation to the preparation of Cohabitation Agreements and Pre-Nuptial Agreements.


We fully understand and acknowledge that for all clients, the issue of costs is a key area of concern at what is often already a time of extreme stress and worry. We offer an initial free telephone consultation for all clients, during which we aim to identify the issues to be addressed, and provide some preliminary advice and reassurance. Thereafter, if more case specific advice is required, we offer an initial consultation up to 60 minutes, at a fixed fee of £150.00 plus VAT. During this meeting, we are able to provide more detailed advice, and can identify more specifically the nature and extent of the work that we would undertake. We can also provide a clearer estimate as to the likely costs that will be incurred by the client, and can discuss various options that may be available to the client with regard to payment of their fees. Every client is treated as an individual, and we are able to tailor the extent of the representation that we provide, having regard to the needs of the client and their financial resources.


The issue of Court proceedings is always seen as a last resort, and we always encourage our clients to endeavour to resolve matters by agreement, whether through direct negotiation with the other party, or through participation in mediation. We have a good working relationship with local mediation providers, and are able to offer the independent advice and support to clients, that they invariably require throughout the mediation process.

Who to talk to

Sue Shepard Partner
Michelle Smith Solicitor
Meet our team

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