Helping you to make the best decisions for your family.
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As a parent, you will find making decisions about what is best for your children difficult and emotional. Whether you are considering where your children will live, their financial needs, what contact your child should have with their parent or any other issues our family lawyers will help you consider your options to make the best decision for your children and you.
Where possible we will use mediation or the collaborative process which are the least stressful and most cost effective methods of resolving family disputes, they may also enable you to have some form of relationship with the other party in future. If there is more urgency (for example if your spouse is refusing to return your children after a contact visit) we can seek an injunction and where necessary we will take court action.
Parents are under a legal obligation to provide financially for their children even if the children no longer live with them. Paternity issues often arise in the context of child maintenance claims. A ‘parent’ may allege that they are not the natural father and are therefore not obliged to pay maintenance.
Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office, family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.
In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as she re-joins the family department.
Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.
Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with all the legal aspects of relationships coming to an end. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.
Here are Vanessa’s answers to a brief interview about her interests:
What’s your favourite book?
Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, Rebecca, The Kite Runner, many more…
What’s your favourite saying?
‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ and ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’
What are your outside interests?
Getting out in the fresh air with her dogs, theatre, reading, entertaining at home with friends or family
Sharon has over 20 years experience on all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects in high value divorces. She is particularly experienced in dealing with couples who have assets abroad.
She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist and qualified in mediation and collaborative family law.
“A break up of a relationship is very sad for everyone concerned” says Sharon. “I believe that our role is to try and help both parties reach a solution which they are both happy with. When feelings are running high this can sometimes be difficult but I believe we can make a difference”.
Sharon is often thanked by her clients for her sympathetic and supportive approach through a traumatic time in their lives.
Her most memorable case was in a divorce where financial matters involving significant assets were resolved amicably yet parties persisted to argue about kitchen utensils!
She qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and joined Hart Brown in 2007 becoming a partner a few months later.
A client thanked Sharon for her work: "I would especially like to thank Sharon Powell for all her support and guidance throughout. Thanks indeed."
Here are Sharon’s answers to a brief interview about her interests and achievements.
What are your interests?
Cooking and enjoying a well prepared meal.
Where is your favourite destination?
Tell us about your notable achievements?
I was particularly proud when I became a partner and then head of the family department. I like the challenge of developing a department and helping others develop in their own careers.