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Meet the divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 11:53 14 December 2018

(c) Liountmila Korelidou / Getty Images

(c) Liountmila Korelidou / Getty Images

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Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Beverley Morris - Partner and Head of Family Law

Lodders Solicitors

Glensanda House, 1 Montpellier Parade, Cheltenham, GL50 1UA

01242 228370

Facebook: @lodderssolicitorsllp

Twitter: @LoddersLawyers

Beverley is an equity partner, collaboratively trained lawyer and head of the family team at Lodders. She merged her practice, Divorce & Family Law Practice with Lodders in July 2017. She has been consistently recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners over the years in her field of expertise.

What is your career history?

My working life has been devoted to family law. In the latter 15 years I’ve concentrated on financial cases particularly those involving complex issues. I’ve been to the Court of Appeal on many occasions and this year had a case progress to the Supreme Court. I sit on the Resolution West Midlands Committee and devote time to training and inspiring younger lawyers.

What services do you provide?

My team covers all aspects of family law. I specialise in financial cases and have seen a marked increase in enquiries relating to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Often it is the valuation of assets in cases which causes significant difficulty - it can be very hard to put a value on a private limited company and frequently experts’ opinions vary widely.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Court should be the last resort – it is stressful, uncertain and costly. To negotiate a settlement should always be the objective as the court is a blunt instrument and what parties can agree to, the court sometimes does not have the power to impose. If parties can agree a clean break it is often in everyone’s interests to sever the financial relationship and progress on a road to independence, but each case is fact specific.

Beverley Morris - Partner and Head of Family Law, Lodders Solicitors (c) Dave WarrenBeverley Morris - Partner and Head of Family Law, Lodders Solicitors (c) Dave Warren

Helen Cankett - Partner, Head of Family

BPE Solicitors LLP

St James House, St James Square, Cheltenham, GL50 3PR

01242 248256

Facebook: @bpecommunity

Twitter: @BPE_Solicitors

BPE Solicitors is a Top 200 law firm and was a finalist in the ‘Law Firm of the Year: The Independents – South and Midlands’ category of The Lawyer Awards 2018. The firm has over 130 staff including 70 fee-earners, with headquarters in Cheltenham and offices in Stonehouse and London.

What is your career history?

Following my training at Thring Townsend in Swindon, I spent nine years at Rickerbys in Cheltenham followed by two years at Foot Anstey, based in Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol. I returned to Cheltenham in 2013 and joined BPE, where I have led the Family team since November 2016.

What services do you provide?

I help clients with all aspects of family breakdown, from negotiating financial settlements to the arrangements for the care of any children. As a Family Mediator and Collaborative Family Lawyer, I can offer alternatives to the Court process. I also assist clients with Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Seeing a solicitor shouldn’t be seen as confrontational act. The right solicitor will listen to your concerns, support you through the process and help you exit your relationship in a dignified matter. Separation is frightening but with good advice, you have the best chance of reaching an agreement.

Helen Cankett - Partner, Head of Family, BPE Solicitors LLP (c)  Clint Randall / www.pixelprphotography.co.ukHelen Cankett - Partner, Head of Family, BPE Solicitors LLP (c) Clint Randall / www.pixelprphotography.co.uk

Alma Nicol - Partner and Solicitor

Bonell & Co

2 Chestnut Walk, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6HG

01789 299155

I am a Partner and family law solicitor at Bonell & Co in Stratford upon Avon. I am passionate about assisting families going through divorce or separation at a time when they need someone sympathetic and experienced on their side, looking after their best interests and those of their children.

What is your career history?

I practised law in my native Spain for five years before moving to the UK in 2005, where I subsequently re-qualified as a solicitor. I have practised family law in the West Midlands and Warwickshire area for ten years. I became a partner at Bonell & Co earlier this year.

What services do you provide?

I specialise in family law, with a particular interest in matrimonial cases, where I use my expertise to assist divorcing and separating couples from the Warwickshire and Cotswolds areas resolve their financial and children issues. My firm also offers a range of services, like conveyancing, probate and powers of attorney.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Always seek legal advice, even if only on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis. Once you enter into a final agreement, it will be extremely difficult to move away from it, even if you were unrepresented at the time. Also, formalise any agreement into a Court Order to ensure it is fully binding.

Alma Nicol - Partner and Solicitor, Bonell & CoAlma Nicol - Partner and Solicitor, Bonell & Co

Carolyn Green - Head of the Cheltenham Family Law Team

Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd

Ellenborough House, Wellington Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1YD

01242 246457

Facebook: @HCRlaw

Twitter: @HCRlaw

With 30 years’ experience of helping people through a difficult situation, I am not easily surprised. It’s often hard for people to understand what’s realistic, so I’ll always listen to what you want from the settlement and advise on what you’re likely to get out of it.

What is your career history?

I am Gloucestershire born and bred, but after studying Latin at university, I studied law in Chester, qualifying in 1988 – I have practised in Cheltenham since 1992 with Harrison Clark Rickerbys, where I lead the Family Law team.

What services do you provide?

I specialise in divorce and financial settlements, including pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. I am trained as a collaborative lawyer and am also a qualified family arbitrator. My work includes pensions, off-shore trusts and shareholdings in private limited companies and PLCs.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Don’t have unnecessary fights – they simply lead to large legal fees that you could spend on better things. If you have children, try to focus on them - you can stop being spouses, but not parents! The court system is committed to fairness, so don’t attempt a DIY one-sided settlement.

Carolyn Green - Head of the Cheltenham Family Law Team, Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd (c) James GreenoffCarolyn Green - Head of the Cheltenham Family Law Team, Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd (c) James Greenoff

Jane Brothwood - Managing Director

Hughes Paddison Solicitors

10, Royal Crescent, Cheltenham, GL50 3DA

01242 574244

Twitter: @HughesPaddison

I am managing director of Hughes Paddison Solicitors, and a solicitor dealing with all aspects of family law, but specialising, particularly, in sorting out complex financial cases. I aim to sort matters out amicably and constructively, and am mindful of the cost of fighting, both emotionally and financially.

What is your career history?

I trained and qualified at a central London firm, where I was a salaried partner, until I made the move out of London in 1994. I have been with Hughes Paddison ever since then, and became managing director in 2007. The firm has grown during that time from 17 staff, when I arrived, to the 70 staff that we have now.

What services do you provide?

I am a qualified mediator as well as a solicitor, and have experience in all areas of family law, from pre-nuptial agreements, post nuptials, all children issues, divorce and financial provision, including cases with an international element. We have eight solicitors and a legal executive in the family department.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

I would recommend seeking advice as early as possible, to enable you to make informed decisions. Try and reduce the issues between you, and remember some battles are worth winning and others are not. It is better to keep your money for your family to benefit, rather than your lawyer.

Jane Brothwood - Managing Director, Hughes Paddison SolicitorsJane Brothwood - Managing Director, Hughes Paddison Solicitors

Deborah Davies - Senior solicitor

Hine Solicitors

285 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7JF

01865 514348

I am a solicitor who values the solicitor/ client relationship and that starts with listening. I believe in plain English, I don’t hide behind jargon, because it is essential that clients know they can trust me completely. I use my experience to get the best possible outcomes for them.

What is your career history?

I qualified as a solicitor in 1996 in Swansea before moving to Oxfordshire in 1999. I have been a Law Society accredited specialist in Family Law since 2001 and a member of Resolution for nearly 20 years. I moved to Hine Solicitors in 2016 to join their dynamic team.

What services do you provide?

My team offers the best advice and sensitive assistance on legal issues arising from the breakdown of relationships, whether married or unmarried. We can help with divorce, the dissolution of a civil partnership, finances, children and domestic abuse. Our advocacy experience enables us to offer continuity in court hearings.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Early advice is invaluable; it can stop some problems in their tracks and ease other issues. Be open with your solicitor about your history, what help you need and the outcomes you seek. Finally, everyone, but especially children, will benefit if you aim to reduce conflict.

Deborah Davies - Senior solicitor, Hine SolicitorsDeborah Davies - Senior solicitor, Hine Solicitors

Joanna Gardner - Family Law Solicitor

SME Solicitors

8 Sansome Walk, Worcester, WR1 1LW

01905 332715

Twitter: @SMESolicitors

My aim as a family solicitor is to help people who are going through what can be the worst time of their lives, to bring calm to chaos. Using my experience and effective problem solving abilities, I support and guide people through a complex process to achieve the best outcome.

What is your career history?

I have been a qualified family solicitor now for 17 years, working in Worcester for the whole of my career. I have worked both for SME Solicitors where I am now and a slightly larger firm, where I trained, that had offices across the county.

What services do you provide?

I advise on all areas of personal relationship breakdown. I especially concentrate on the financial aspects of separation for both married and unmarried couples. I also help with children matters where families cannot agree. We have a team of dedicated advisers covering all aspects of separation including conveyancing and wills.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

Separating is a very stressful and emotional time. It is important to recognise that and not make hasty decisions. To control your spinning world consider: “NOW? WHERE? HOW?” What is your current situation? Where would you like to be? How will you get there? We can help you through this.

Joanna Gardner - Family Law Solicitor, SME SolicitorsJoanna Gardner - Family Law Solicitor, SME Solicitors

Amba Chawla - Solicitor/Director

The Merriman Partnership

Hughenden House, 107 High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1LN

01672 515846

Amba Chawla has advised and informed in family law for 20 years.“It’s a responsibility and privilege to be part of a client’s most serious moments in life acknowledging the person may be carrying an emotional burden too.A well-informed client plans strategically and calmly to decide their own future.”

What is your career history?

Amba’s city law background in Bristol exposed her to family issues from the world of high finance to adoption, children in care to cohabitation and also modest property ownership claims. Amba is a panel member for Gloucester and Wiltshire Law Society and trustee with Salisbury Plain Academy.

What services do you provide?

Amba advises in all legal aspects of relationship and family matters including cohabitation, children issues, pre-nuptial agreements, protecting your assets and income when in; or when deciding to leave a relationship. She advises in succession planning and in business-owner relationships as part of that process.

What advice would you give to couples/families going through this process?

• In all significant issues we face, it’s important to stay calm.

• There’s always a solution and often many options.

• Do not feel forced into making decisions.

• Ensure that you know your rights and options.

• Discuss your plans openly with a reputable family lawyer. You will feel in control of your decisions.

Amba Chawla - Solicitor/Director, The Merriman PartnershipAmba Chawla - Solicitor/Director, The Merriman Partnership

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