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I am a Partner in our London and Manchester offices and the National Head of Irwin Mitchell's Divorce & Family Law team. I am also Regional Managing Partner for the Manchester office and I sit on the firm's Private Wealth Executive Board.
I offer help and advice to people when their relationship comes to an end, or help them plan for the possibility of that happening. This may relate to the process of separation itself, the related consequences for their finances, or care arrangements for their children. I have experience advising both heterosexual and same sex couples, whether married or in a civil partnership; couples who live together, or have lived together; and those who have children together but have never married or lived together.
I have extensive experience in high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth cases, which often involve complex international issues, high value trust structures, and pension arrangements. I do not exclusively act for high-net-worth individuals, however, and I'm passionate about fighting for a fair outcome for all of my clients.
In every case, I will always work hard to achieve the result which is right for each client, whilst also making sure they have a clear understanding of the possible outcomes from the start.
I am a Resolution accredited specialist and in 2016 I was the only divorce lawyer outside London to make The Lawyer’s Hot 100 list. I was also featured on Citiwealth's Top 50 Powerwomen list for 2017-18. My team has won many national awards in the past two years, including being named Family Team of the Year by both the Manchester Law Society and the Magic Circle Awards in 2017.
The benefits of working as part of a large multi-disciplinary team are tremendous. The Irwin Mitchell Divorce & Family team is the largest specialist family team in the UK, with the broadest geographical reach. This facilitates knowledge sharing on a level which cannot be rivalled by our competitors.
In recent years I've been involved in a number of high profile cases. I represented Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil in their successful landmark appeals to the Supreme Court, where the seven Supreme Court judges unanimously determined that the orders which had been made in their cases should be set aside. Both women successfully secured costs orders against their opponents.
I also represented Helen Roocroft in her successful appeal to the Court of Appeal last year, which was said to be another “landmark ruling”.
In 1993 I met two incredible women. They were family lawyers. They supported me in changing career paths and qualifying as a solicitor.
I love and thrive on challenge. I enjoy working out solutions, and the law – especially family law – is the perfect environment for that. You need to identify objectives with an end goal in sight, whilst also addressing challenges on the way and being ready to change your approach. I believe we have a fair system in this country and can influence decisions and change things for the better.
Every aspect of the role is rewarding - from winning a case and feeling that justice has been done, to having the intellectual stimulation of case analysis, which means I am always growing professionally. I find it especially rewarding when clients stay in touch after a case has concluded. As one of my former clients told me - "There are no winners but you made it feel like I won."
I absolutely love the Archers. I’m also a Kindle convert and make time to read every night. While I’d love to say I have many energetic pursuits, unfortunately it’s not true! I enjoy baking and periodically do go on a baking spree. I have three sons, so life outside work is a bit hectic as they take up most of my time when I’m not working.
"She is very insightful and gets to the core issues immediately, and combines this with a genuine approachability and interest in the cases she deals with." - Chambers & Partners, 2018
"Her work is outstanding and she has a fabulous reputation for getting results." - Chambers & Partners, 2017
She is in a "league of her own; she is a real class act and her advice and business acumen are always spot on" - Legal 500, 2017
Ros is "simply brilliant" and is "very caring with an impressive level of attention to detail" - Legal 500, 2016
She is "very experienced, personable, down to earth and a fighter," according to interviewees, with a "warm and engaging" approach. - Chambers & Partners, 2016
"She oozes empathy and her advice was spot on." - Chambers & Partners, 2015
Highly regarded for her expertise in both complex financial matters and children's issues. She is highly praised by her clients, with one noting: "Ros Bever was outstanding: intelligent, diligent, willing to go beyond the call of duty - and thoroughly nice with it." - Chambers & Partners, 2014
Ros Bever is "incredibly skilled and delivers excellent client care" - Legal 500, 2014
“Parents are often drawn into arguments over the smallest things because emotions run high during a divorce - I had a client who wanted to fight over a fridge magnet collection – that’s how blinkered parties can become, all the while dragging out litigation and if they have children, prolonging their turmoil too.
“The problem is that the system encourages this. At the moment parents have to lay the blame at one another’s doorstep to try and ‘win’ the divorce. This is obviously extremely damaging for children to see and they are often used as pawns by one or both parents out of desperation or because the relationship has deteriorated so much they cannot see past their prejudices.
“The reality for parents and children alike could be so different if we introduced no-fault divorce law.”
“We are delighted to see that the Minister for Justice is drawing up plans for an updated divorce system in England and Wales. We and the family law community at large have long argued the system is no longer fit for purpose – it is massively outdated, does not reflect the lives of modern families and encourages couple to blame each other at a time when families are already stretched to their very limits emotionally.
“We believe it is vital that the Minister for Justice considers a no-fault divorce system which has been adopted successfully by several other countries. The current law actively encourages hostility between the ex-partners even in the most amicable of situations, and this can stand in the way of constructive dialogue about the resolution of financial matters. When children are involved, it is particularly heart-breaking to witness. We take the view that no-fault divorce, far from undermining marriage, is essential in a civilised society.
“Another gaping hole in the framework that we hope to see addressed in the future is the lack of provision for cohabiting couples in the law. This household type is the fastest growing in the UK, and yet couples who live together for decades still have no provision in place if they decide to separate or if one passes away. Recognition of cohabiting couples in the law is desperately needed and we hope to see this at the top of the agenda following a review of the divorce system.
The Family Court is trying to keep up with the times – as demonstrated by the new online divorce system – but if the legal framework it is operating within remains primitive then there can be no meaningful change made until this is reviewed. We look forward to seeing the proposals.”
“This is a very disappointing outcome for Mrs Owens who will now have to wait a further two years before she can restart the divorce process and petition on the basis of having been separated for five years. It is also disappointing for the family law community which has been trying to take the heat out of divorce and encourage separating couples to behave respectfully and where possible amicably towards each other. There is a concern that rather than allegations of behaviour being toned down, they will now be ‘beefed up’ to ensure they are accepted by the court.
Anyone who has been through a divorce will know that the process is emotionally draining enough without the added stress of assigning blame at the doorstep at one of the parties involved. Having to make allegations of bad behaviour inflames the situation and creates an unnecessarily hostile environment in which to negotiate about children and financial matters, which can create emotionally devastating situations.
It is hoped that this outcome does not encourage more defended divorces and a ‘he said/she said’ approach. Many people do not understand that most types of ‘bad behaviour’ will not make any difference at all to the financial outcome, so arguments over the reason for the breakdown of the relationship are simply not financially worthwhile, indeed they serve only to deplete the family’s funds.
There is still clear appetite for sweeping reform within the family law sphere. As Lord Wilson noted, it is for Parliament to decide if the law remains satisfactory. On Friday 20 July, Baroness Butler-Sloss laid a Bill before the House of Lords which proposes a review of the law within six months and suggests a structure whereby either or both parties could begin divorce proceedings and then confirm the divorce nine months later without alleging fault. The result of this case makes such reform all the more urgent.
There is not yet a date for a second reading of the Bill; with the summer recess upon us it is likely to be some time before the bill is considered properly. Sadly, there are various historic examples of much needed family law reform being proposed but not making it on to the statute books or coming into force. However we very much hope that this marks the beginning of a positive change to the law and shows the law is finally catching up with modern life.”
“Today the Supreme Court has decided to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision that Mr Mills should have to fund rental payments for his former wife.
A husband should not be responsible for meeting the needs of his wife by way of ongoing maintenance where those needs were not connected to the relationship, but were in fact the result of the wife’s financial mismanagement. This judgment provides welcome clarity that a husband will not be responsible for a wife’s needs relating to provision of housing where she has mismanaged her capital settlement which was intended to meet those needs.
The judge was entitled to say the husband should not in all fairness have to meet the wife’s increased needs. The judge had a discretion to order an increase or not, but he would have had to give very clear reasons in the circumstances of this case why the husband should pay more. The impact of the original capital settlement had to be taken into account.
Campaigners against what they perceive to be the ‘meal ticket for life’ of indefinite maintenance orders will claim this as a victory. While this is a very narrow point - the Supreme Court has been at pains to stress that this is not a commentary on the principles behind maintenance orders generally - it does fit with the general trend in this area. It is clear the English courts are increasingly looking to encourage spouses to have financial independence from one another.
An example is Kim Waggott whose £175,000-a-year maintenance order was restricted to a fixed term after she went back to court to increase her annual pay-out. It is understood that case is also going to the Supreme Court on the wife’s appeal and we hope that this will provide an opportunity for the Supreme Court to give more general guidance beyond the specific issue that was addressed in Mills."
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