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I am a Partner at Irwin Mitchell. My passion is to help clients through the complexities of relationship breakdown and reach their desired outcomes in a practical, constructive manner. I specialise in dealing with substantial asset cases which often involve complex trusts and family businesses. I also advise on pre-marital/pre-partnership agreements and cohabitation agreements.
In addition, I provide advice and representation for parents involved in disputes about their children.
I am an accredited specialist family lawyer with Resolution, First for Family Law. I am a strong negotiator and advocate but I am also a trained collaborative lawyer and can offer this as an alternative way of resolving disputes without going to court in appropriate cases.
"Down to earth but disarmingly bright" - Legal 500, 2018/19
"Irwin Mitchell's 'sensitive and sensible' Alison Fernandes is building a strong reputation in the region. She provides 'realistic and honest advice delivered sympathetically; she is warm, humorous and a pleasure to deal with' " - Legal 500 2016
I have written numerous articles for local and regional press in relation to divorce and collaborative law.
I'm a people person and like to help clients find solutions to their problems. A lot of what I do is common sense but applying common sense to family law can be tricky and clients need a guiding hand to show them the way.
Job satisfaction and variety. Advising in family law brings new challenges every day as no case is ever the same.
From the outside Irwin Mitchell can look daunting. The firm has grown rapidly since I first joined in 1999. However, the reality is the firm is like a number of small business working under one roof. This means we really are small enough to care and deliver the personal service clients want but we are also large enough to deliver that service at high corporate standards.
Where do I start? I'm a keen snowboarder in the winter. In the summer I enjoy camping, walking and mountain biking. I've recently started to learn to play golf but all I can say is that so far I do not appear to be a natural. I'll keep at it though!
"From the time I contacted Alison and the team at Irwin Mitchell about my divorce they acted in an incredibly supportive and empathetic manner. The advice throughout the difficult process was fantastic, helping me to understand the process and the decisions that needed to be made. In an incredibly painful and difficult time Alison provided a sensitive, well-explained and thorough service, leaving me feeling reassured at all times. A first rate service all round!"
"I wanted to thank you for your help and advice over the past year. It's certainly taken a while but we got there in the end! Thank you for your practical and constructive advice; I'm very happy with the outcome overall and am delighted that I can now get on with the next part of my life."
"I can't thank you enough for all that you have done. I really feel that I have my life back, and will always be grateful for your unwavering (and patient) help and support."
Alison Fernandes, family law partner at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, said: “We’re delighted that Rachel has joined Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth.
“Rachel’s wealth of expertise will be an invaluable asset to the London team, who have already established themselves as a high-quality family law outfit, and enhancing the family law presence in Cambridge will be a great opportunity for us.
“It is exciting to see that we are attracting highly experienced solicitors as a centre of excellence for family and divorce law across the country, and we will continue to make sure we are at the forefront of the market.
“I know Rachel will settle in well and I look forward to seeing her work as part of the wider national team.”
“We know from our experience just how devastating it can be for couples when one person suffers serious injuries which require compensation to help cover care costs and adaptations to their living arrangements.
“The sad reality is that in many cases a life changing injury can put tremendous strain on a relationship and can result in the breakdown of that relationship.
“Further heartache and legal battles could be reduced in these situations if couples put legal agreements in place whenever something significant changes in their lives, for example when one of them receives a large settlement to help with their rehabilitation and care costs.
“People may have heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, but it is important to regularly review these if you already have them and if there isn’t one in place, a post-nuptial can be agreed between the two partners.
“The agreement can specify how the couple’s finances are divided in the event of their separation and help avoid further emotional strain and legal battles.”
“This is an interesting turn of events in the tiger charity case and shows the need for transparency in providing financial disclosure to ascertain what is and is not a matrimonial asset available for distribution now, or in the future.
“It undoubtedly follows the precedent set in the Sharland and Gohil cases and puts a spotlight on similar issues which those cases raised. If anything could be learned from those cases, it was that dishonesty regarding financial assets will simply not be tolerated.
“The Court of Appeal are clearly concerned as to whether the husband had fully disclosed his position in relation to the charity and whether that had been taken fully into account by the High Court.”
"While this is another high profile divorce case involving large sums of money, the conflict between the two parties involved is the aspect which has caught the public's attentions - with Mr Justice Holman going so far as to describe the battle as 'unedifying'.
"Divorce is an incredibly difficult and emotional time for everyone affected, but it is important to remember that going through the process does not necessarily mean costly and draining court battles in relation to splitting assets, property and access to children.
"We would always urge those going through divorce to carefully consider all options before committing to going to court to ensure their needs are met. The key is to consider alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation, collaborative law or arbitration which are less acrimonious, quicker and more cost efficient than going to court.
"Taking a constructive approach along these lines can remove some of the emotional difficulties for those involved and also ultimately mean they avoid the difficulties and expense of a drawn out legal battle."
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