Ian Walker

Ian Walker – Solicitor/ Mediator/ Arbitrator/ Managing Director

Divorce

We have one of the largest and most experienced teams of divorce specialist solicitors and mediators in the South-West.

Our team has been recognised as a leading team of family lawyers in the South-West respected publication – the Legal 500

Divorce can be a very emotive and difficult time, not just for the couple, but also for their children and other family members.

Couples invariably separate because they are not getting on with each other or because they have grown apart.

Marriage gives legal rights to the couple. Bringing the marriage to an end requires at least some degree of legal process. Normally this is obtaining the Decree Absolute – which formally brings the marriage to an end as well as a Final Financial Order. (This can be a clean break).

legal 500 leading firm logoIdeally the arrangements for any minor children will be agreed and there would be no need for these to be formalised in a court order. However, some parents cannot agree what the arrangements for their children will be after separation – and a court will need to decide.

Understanding what is fair

If you are separating from your partner and/or are thinking about getting divorced, or if your former partner has started a divorce process – we are able to help you.

Good legal advice and representation is about assisting clients to achieve a fair settlement whilst at the same time seeking to avoid unnecessary conflict and cost.

Lauren Preedy – Senior Solicitor – Head of Divorce and Relationships Team

Avoiding unnecessary conflict

It is too easy for couples to become involved in drawn-out, nasty and expensive disputes.

Our divorce team has considerable experience. Our team members are all committed to the principles of Resolution and includes three Chairs/Past Chairs of Resolution’s regional groups.

These principles are about maximising the use of negotiation where appropriate (including through mediation, collaborative family law and principled negotiation), but if necessary taking court action – but doing so in a principled and reasonable way.

We are here to protect your finances

Good negotiation is as much about the gathering of evidence and presenting reasoned and reasonable proposals as is good representation in court.

Paul Jacobs FCCA – Finance Manager – Our in house accountant

Whilst we have considerable legal expertise we are not regulated financial advice. (We are regulated as lawyers). We therefore work with appropriate financial experts who can include actuaries, accountants and financial planners to properly understand the finances of a couple so that we are better able to negotiate or persuade the court what constitutes a fair settlement.

In-house accountant

We have the benefit of having within our own team and in-house accountant. This is Paul Jacobs.

Paul is financially literate and in addition to his role in assisting with the smooth running of our business, Paul also works with our divorce team.

Whilst Paul is not able to give financial advice – he is able to act as a link between our lawyers and finance professionals and assist in the interpretation of financial documents and also so that we can best identify when a financial expert is needed and who the best financial expert will be.

Bridget Garrood – Senior Consultant Solicitor – Divorce/ Finance/ LGBT+ Specialist

This can save time and cost.

Putting children first

Whether mutually, or by one of the couple, separation and divorce are adult decisions.

Separation and divorce and their consequences can be very challenging times for the adults and occasionally the needs of their children can slip out of focus.

Separation and divorce can be difficult and confusing times for children. It is important that the adults in their life focus on their need to have a safe and happy childhood.

Please be reassured that our divorce team are very child focused. If possible we will promote constructive negotiation (including through collaborative

Fiona Griffin – Senior Consultant Solicitor – Divorce/ Finance Specialist

family law or with the assistance of family mediation), but if this is not possible – then decisive action through a court process may be the only way. We have years of expertise in assisting clients with complex cases involving children.

The importance of taking legal advice.

There is a lot of information on our website. However all cases are different. It is important to take legal advice at an early stage.

We are conscious that couples can get into a mess if they try to agree what to do without having received legal advice.

Couples can also get into a mess if they agree to things without there having been full financial disclosure.

Taking legal advice is about gaining knowledge to enable you to make informed decisions. Having a good solicitor will assist in making good decisions. A good solicitor is not emotionally involved. They will give good advice with an outsider’s perspective.

Karen Elliott – Senior Consultant Chartered Legal Executive – Divorce/ Finance Specialist

Funding a divorce

It is normal for each of the couple to pay for their own costs in connection with a divorce and resolving the wider issues.

The potential costs of a divorce can be very worrying.

We are open about our charges. We have always published our standard charge rates on our website. We are also committed to monthly billing to assist you to keep on top of costs.

We are also happy to consider fixed fees. There is more about all of this on our funding pages.

We are happy to talk to you openly about how your case will be funded.

Sometimes clients will take out a litigation loan from companies who will lend money in the knowledge that an asset will be sold (e.g. a home) as part of the overall divorce process – which will mean that the lender is repaid.

Generally delay and unnecessary conflict lead to costs rising. The best way to keep costs down is usually to move matters forward but in a principled way and through negotiation where that is possible. Where negotiation is not possible because the other party appears unlikely to be able to recognise what is a reasonable solution – then the best way forward is normally to push proceedings forward (avoiding unnecessary side disputes) to the stage where the Court is able to assist an a reasonable outcome being achieved.

 

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