I have a constructive and pragmatic approach to resolving family disputes and to finding creative ways to overcome obstacles in negotiations. I use my expertise as a family mediator and collaborative family lawyer to try to avoid litigation and achieve a negotiated settlement, if possible. Where necessary, I use my skills as a litigator, acquired over many years of practice as a family lawyer, to achieve a fair outcome.
Areas of Expertise
- All aspects of divorce.
- Complex financial issues arising from the breakdown of marriage, cohabitation or civil partnership.
- Matters involving the valuation and sharing of pensions
- Division of family owned businesses following the breakdown of a relationship.
- Representing high net worth clients.
- Forensic analysis of complex finances.
- Mediating issues relating to finance, future arrangements for children and any other issues arising upon divorce or separation.
Examples include representing clients in the following scenarios:-
- Forensic examination of a family company to achieve an accurate valuation and fair division of the business.
- The matrimonial capital was modest but one party had substantial income resources through family discretionary trusts.
- Client’s ex spouse had failed to disclose very valuable share options at the time of the separation and division of capital, many years earlier.
- Wives of professional footballers with very large salaries but short careers.
- Non-disclosure of large dividends due to be received shortly after settlement. Involved re-opening the original Court Order.
- Mediating matters which involve the division of family companies, undervalued final salary pensions and foreign property.
Experience, Professional Associations and Qualifications
- Qualified as a solicitor in January 1990
- Became Partner of the firm in 2004
- Recognised as a notable practitioner for being 'a tough negotiator' and providing 'sensible and practical advice; she knows when to settle and when to fight' - Chambers & Partners Guide UK 2020.
- Recognised in The Times Top 200 Law Firms 2020
- Ranked as a leading family lawyer in the south coast by Chambers UK (2018) - “Deborah comes recommended for her expertise in complex financial disputes and pensions issues”. “She is highly experienced and practical, with a good client manner”.
- Recommended lawyer by the Legal 500 (UK 2019) as 'experienced and approachable' and 'excellent with clients'.
- Recommended lawyer by The Legal 500 (UK 2017) specifically noted for her having 'a wonderful manner with her clients, while being robust '.
- LLB (Hons) Law Degree obtained in 1986
- Solicitors Finals passed with honours in 1987
- Qualified as a family mediator with Resolution in 1996
- Gained accreditation (in advanced finance and pensions) through Resolution in 2000
- Trained and qualified as a collaborative family lawyer in 2007
- Achieved accreditation as a family mediator with the Law Society in 2016
- Member of Resolution
- Member of Phoenix Mediation