Providing certainty from the outset.


Entering into a civil partnership creates rights and responsibilities including the right to apply for parental responsibility of your civil partner’s child.

Before entering into a civil partnership you may wish to consider a pre-registration agreement. A pre-registration agreement sets out who receives what should the relationship break down.

Although not the most romantic start to a civil partnership these agreements help provide certainty and can save a lot of bitterness and hostility later.If your civil partnership breaks down we can assist with:

  • the dissolution of the civil partnership
  • resolving the finances
  • resolving children issues
  • property issues
  • financial settlements

At Hart Brown our family lawyers can explain your rights when you enter into a civil partnership and prepare a pre-registration agreement. Should the relationship break down we understand how stressful and upsetting this is. We will help you try and resolve your issues amicably and constructively while protecting your interests.

To speak to a solicitor who can advise on the legal aspects of your civil partnership or same sex relationship, contact us today.

who to contact

Julian Waldon

Associate, Family

Associate, Family

Julian Waldon

Julian has extensive experience in family law and in particular high net worth financial cases.

Qualifying in 1988, Julian’s career has included practising family law in California, gaining invaluable experience acting in high profile cases for clients in Beverley Hills.

Julian is a trained collaborative lawyer and mediator and has been admitted to the California Bar (non-practising). He is also a member of Resolution and the Thameside Collaborative Law Pod.

His most memorable case was obtaining monthly alimony of $35k for a client.

Julian receives excellent feedback from his clients: "Your patience, efficiency and pragmatic advice have made a difficult matter easier for us."

Here are Julian’s answers to a brief interview about his interests and achievements.

What was your first car?
A rusty Peugeot which expired on the M3 in Winchester on Friday the 13th.

What would you have done if you had not become a lawyer?
Opera chorus member

What was one of the high points in your legal career?
My first Court of Appeal case which was reported in the papers.

Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

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 Powell

Partner, Head of Family

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon Powell

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.

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