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I am a Partner in the firm and head up the London Family team of nine lawyers. I have been specialising in family law since 1995. My role is to unravel the legal, financial and practical ties when a relationship breaks down. This often involves dealing with complex financial matters such as offshore trusts and corporate structures.
I also act for parents when there is a dispute about their children. In addition I help clients who require pre marital agreements, pre civil partnership agreements and living together contracts. I have considerable experience in dealing with international cases when it is essential to obtain expert advice at an early stage. I am a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and an accredited family lawyer with the Law Society. I am a trained collaborative lawyer which is a way of resolving disputes without going to court. I was shortlisted for Family Lawyer Of The Year in the Spear's Wealth Management Awards 2016 and featured on the Spear’s Wealth Management top 500 family lawyers’ list in 2015.
"Formidable", "bats at the very highest level," "she is absolutely first-rate and completely unflappable." - Chambers & Partners 2017
Elizabeth has "lots of energy and is hugely committed to her clients" - Legal 500 2016
She is recommended for her "really clever, tactical" and "very caring" approach - Chambers & Partners 2016
Elizabeth Hicks’ "expertise and drive rubs off on the team, which is outstanding" - Legal 500 2015
"A real dynamo" who is "very energetic." - Chambers & Partners 2015
Sources praise her "extraordinary memory for every detail" and the fact that she "thinks outside the box." - Chambers & Partners 2014
Elizabeth Hicks "has a superb reputation for financial remedy cases." - Legal 500 2014
I wanted to be in a career where I could make a difference. The way in which the break up of someone's relationship is handled can have a huge impact on them, their ex and their children for the rest of their lives. Being a family lawyer involves a mixture of empathy and support while offering a practical solution. I enjoy the challenge of trying to offer a way forward in what are often very difficult circumstances. I try and make a positive difference to what is usually the most emotional time in someone's life.
I am passionate about what I do. The most rewarding aspect of my role is to have a client come through a difficult emotional journey and know that I have helped them. I also enjoy the forensic investigation into someone's finances and helping uncover undisclosed assets and income - which can often make a real difference to the financial outcome for my client.
There is great team spirit at Irwin Mitchell. Working with lawyers from different areas of law is very rewarding. The diversity of lawyers mean that there is always an interesting or challenging case. Being part of a large national firm means that the administrative support is first class which makes my job a lot easier - and the clients benefit too.
I enjoy riding, sailing and also going to the theatre and ballet. I am a fervent Welsh rugby fan and am often found screaming at the television during the Six Nations.
“The end of the summer holidays is a peak period for relationship break-ups. Returning home after a family holiday can be a difficult time for many couples, particularly if their relationship is under strain. What happens quite often is that couples can paper over the cracks in their relationship when they are occupied by work. However, spending long periods of time together on holiday can make people confirm the reasons they do not want to stay together.
“In our experience, the rise in enquiries following the summer holiday is not usually caused by bad experiences on the holiday itself. The decision to split has often been made weeks earlier but parents delay taking action so that their children can enjoy their summer break. It’s a similar scenario to the one we see around Christmas.
“A decision to divorce can easily lead to child relocation battles if one parent decides to start a new life abroad and take their children with them. Whether you want to relocate or oppose an application to remove your children there are many issues to consider. The courts will require you to illustrate genuine reasons behind the motivation to move abroad and to outline the housing, childcare, healthcare and education arrangements you will have in place should you be successful.
“If you’re trying to prevent the removal of your children from England and Wales [the UK] you’ll need to demonstrate your current involvement in their upbringing and the long term impact on both you and them should they move abroad. On top of this you’ll have to be able to scrutinise and criticise your ex’s plans to relocate.”
“Much has been made of the financial and economic implications of banks leaving the City, but the effects on families are potentially huge. Up to half of marriages end in divorce and if the prediction that up to 80,000 finance jobs could move abroad is correct, it is easy to see how this could lead to an increase in disputes about where children should live. Many people are already moving to other countries for work, especially in places such as Canada, Dubai and Australia which can cause issues for separated families.
“Whether you want to relocate or oppose an application to remove your children there are many issues to consider. The courts will require you to illustrate genuine reasons behind the motivation to move abroad and to outline the housing, childcare, healthcare and education arrangements you will have in place should you be successful.
“If you’re trying to prevent the removal of your children from England and Wales [the UK] you’ll need to demonstrate your current involvement in their upbringing and the long term impact on both you and them should they move abroad. On top of this you’ll have to be able to scrutinise and criticise your ex’s plans to relocate. Moving a child away from the home and the country they know is not an easy decision to make. Sadly, with the likely impact of Brexit, it seems inevitable that more children face upheaval of this nature.”
A prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic to some but it serves an important role in helping to protect assets within a relationship. It is particularly useful for wealthy people or those who have family heirlooms or properties they want to keep in the family.
Sadly the statistics show that many marriages end in divorce and a pre-nup can save costly arguments particularly in circumstances where one party comes to the marriage with a greater share of the assets.
When deciding divorce settlements, a 50/50 split isn't always the starting point and definitely wouldn't be in a short childless marriage like this.
“This case is not just about Ms Prest receiving the settlement she deserves, it is about the Supreme Court sending out a message that dishonesty will not be tolerated and that you cannot avoid paying a fair settlement without paying the price.
“It is a powerful and positive message; all financial court orders must be adhered to and fines and custodial sentences can be the consequences if you fail to do so.
“It is important in the interests of fairness that the family courts are seen to be imposing strong sanctions if individuals fail to meet payments that many people are dependent on.
”Mr Prest is now facing jail for failing to pay his ex-wife the money the Judge decided was fair in the original divorce settlement.”
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