Divorce & family law
As leading family and divorce lawyers, we have an outstanding reputation built up over a century of practice in this field.
Our clients include City professionals, entrepreneurs, owners of family businesses, landowners, celebrities and the independently wealthy, along with their spouses/partners.
Our family lawyers are supported by in-house experts who are also leaders in other specialist legal areas, such as Wealth Planning, Trust Litigation, Commercial and Employment. The ability to draw on the expertise of over 130 trust and tax lawyers across the firm's nine offices makes us stand out from our competitors. The firm also has a dedicated team of Reputation Management lawyers in order to protect our clients' privacy.
Through our award winning team of family lawyers in our Hong Kong office, we now offer the first and only truly international family law service to clients with interests in both jurisdictions, China and Asia. Our numbers include eleven Fellows of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; the largest IAML membership of any UK firm.
As well as being involved in some of the most groundbreaking family law cases of recent years, we are at the forefront of changes to the way family justice is carried out, with expertise in all areas of alternative dispute resolution. In addition to being a trainer of mediators and collaborative lawyers, Suzanne Kingston is one of London's first family law arbitrators, to add yet another option for clients keen to explore ADR methods rather than litigate their disputes
‘The firm operates a seamless international family practice thanks to its global network of offices’ and "is plainly operating at the very top of the profession." '
'They supply a Rolls-Royce service for their clients.'
'Their knowledge is completely in-depth and impeccable'
'The strength and depth is well known and they have some heavy-hitting partners and juniors. They all relay with their private client department, which is exceptional.'
Chambers & Partners 2014 & 2015
'The premier practice… encompasses every facet of family work, handling groundbreaking international cases such as Imerman, high-value pre-nups, and ‘leave to remove’ applications … receives superb client feedback, with its international reach particularly appreciated.'
‘...has long been a top-flight firm, and has great strength in depth. The firm’s reach across many jurisdictions, and its strength in related areas such as private client and tax, make it ideal for complex cross-border family matters with complex trust elements.'
'Ten out of ten in every respect and in every detail.'
Legal 500 2012, 2013 & 2014
- BJ v MJ - James Copson and Claire Blakemore act for the husband in a financial claim in which the award made by the Court reflected the fact that the wife had assented to the husband setting up a trust which ultimately benefited their son and future generations.
- Z v Z (No 2) - Gill Doran and Brett Frankle acted for a husband in a case in which the court upheld a French marital agreement restricting the wife to her needs as opposed to an award based on sharing. The case is the first reported decision to apply the principles set out by the Supreme Court in Radmacher v Granatino.
- MK v CK - Lisa Fabian Lustigman acted for the father in the Court of Appeal in successfully overturning the decision of the High Court and, in doing so, preventing the mother from taking the two children to live in Canada. This judgment approved the decision in C v C and is a landmark decision underlining the relevance of shared care arrangements in these types of applications.
- C v C (International Relocation Shared Care Arrangement) 2011 - Michael Gouriet and Sophie Chapman acted for the father in a case involving high-profile parents in which the father successfully resisted the mother's application to move with the children to live in the US. Whilst each case is decided on its own facts, the outcome in this case will lend support to the parent (usually the father) opposing the other parent's application to remove the children from the jurisdiction, particularly where shared care arrangements are in place.
- Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman - Diana Parker and Michael Gouriet are acting for the wife. The recent Court of Appeal decision is groundbreaking in that it reverses fifteen years of case law about the circumstances in which the financially weaker party in a divorce is permitted to use documents belonging to the other party.
- S v P - Suzanne Todd was involved in the introduction of a shortcut procedure for the approval of financial settlements on divorce agreed via a collaborative process.
- Marano v Marano - Diana Parker and Claire Blakemore acted for a commercial property developer based in the City, who resisted an appeal by his former wife against an order that she should pay him a lump sum of £5m after the value of his property investments fell during the credit crunch.
- Vaughan v Vaughan - Diana Parker and Katharine Landells acted for a barrister whose first wife was seeking a payment in lieu of continuing maintenance as he approached retirement. The Court of Appeal awarded her a lump sum of £215,000, less than half of the £560,000 she had been seeking.
- Charman v Charman - Katharine Landells acted for John Charman in the landmark case involving the biggest litigated divorce award in English legal history.
- Miller v Miller - Diana Parker and Brett Frankle acted for Melissa Miller in the landmark case before the House of Lords (with the conjoined case of MacFarlane) which remains the leading family law case on financial issues.
- Sorrell v Sorrell - Gill Doran acted for Sir Martin Sorrell in a case which set a precedent for one party's special talents resulting in an unequal division of finances in their favour.
- Pearce v Pearce - James Copson acted for the successful party in the leading case on capitalisation of spousal maintenance (alimony).
- Our Hong Kong Family Law team has written the Hong Kong chapter in the International Comparative Legal Guide to: Family Law 2017.
Recent accolades and awards