Denise Woodward

Denise Woodward

We are sad to announce the death of Denise Woodward, Consultant Solicitor, on 22nd April 2023.

Denise was a valued member of our Family Law Team and a hugely popular member of staff. Denise will be sorely missed by all her work colleagues and the legal fraternity in Chester and beyond.

Darlene Storrar, Managing Partner, says:

"Denise was an excellent Family Law Solicitor and a highly valued member of our team. Denise was dedicated to her work and her many clients and we will miss her enormously. Denise was always cheerful and engaging. Our thoughts are with her large supportive family at this very sad time."


Divorce, Separation & Family: Collaborative Law

Is Collaborative Law the way forward for you?

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Collaborative Law is a fairly new approach to resolving family law matters including divorce, separation and parenting disputes. It is a good option for people who want to avoid the uncertainties of the court-based system. Provided everyone enters the process in good faith, the process is faster and less acrimonious than court proceedings.

Both you and your partner work with specially trained collaborative lawyers. You each receive legal advice and guidance and, together with your lawyers, discuss and resolve issues through face-to-face meetings. The process can also include other professionals including counsellors, mediators and financial specialists to help you reach agreement.

Some of the benefits of Collaborative Law include:

  • Negotiating your own solutions with professional support
  • Having a process as unique as you are
  • Long-lasting agreements which can adapt as circumstances change
  • Less stress – you decide the pace and remain in control of the process

Everyone signs an agreement disqualifying your collaborative lawyers from representing you at court if the collaborative process breaks down. Neither of the lawyers, nor their respective firms, can then act for you in any court-based proceedings. You would need to instruct new lawyers to proceed to court. Darlene Storrar and Janet Baines are trained to undertake Collaborative work with Family clients.

You can set your own agenda according to what matters most to you and your family. You won’t risk key decisions about your future being made by a complete stranger – a judge. Because you are not waiting for dates from the court, you can work at your own pace and resolve matters more quickly but you will still have a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of all assets so negotiations can be honest and open.

The collaborative process also helps maintain channels of communication between you and your partner – this is particularly important if you need to co-operate as parents after divorce or separation. You may even manage to maintain a friendship with your former partner at the end of the process.

Collaborative practitioners are a support group of lawyers and other professionals, providing a creative approach to the legal, emotional and practical problems of family breakdown. A group (‘pod’) meets locally in the Chester area.

Our Dedicated and Knowledgeable Solicitors

If you wish to discuss your situation further with an expert solicitor please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Janet Baines

Solicitor and Partner

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Collaborative Law the same as Mediation?

No, they are very different.   The main difference being; in mediation the mediator is a neutral third party who will not give any legal advice or side with either one of you.  In the collaborative process, you will each have your own solicitor to advise you and present your case for you.

Will I still have to go to court if I opt for Collaborative Law?

The main aim of collaborative law is to avoid the need to go to court wherever possible.  This can be achieved in the vast majority of cases.

How much will the Collaborative Law process cost?

Every person’s circumstances are different and the costs involved will depend upon how long it takes to reach an agreement.  Collaborative law can; however often be cheaper than a traditional divorce dealt with through court.

How long will the Collaborative Law process take?

The timeframe involved really does depend on the individual couple.  If both parties are keen to move the process forward and are open and honest throughout, then it should take less time than it would through court which is typically 12 months or more.


Find out what our clients think about us.

"Janet Baines – really excellent. Janet was superb and the team including Accounts and Land Registration. Very helpful – Thank you"

Litigation & Family Law

"She has been exemplary in every way and I would not hesitate to recommend her or your company to anyone.  Your staff have always been courteous and helpful which is refreshing these days and I thank you most sincerely."

Litigation & Family Law

"I would have no hesitation in either using you or your practice again, or recommending it highly to others."

Litigation & Family Law

"Thank you so much for all your hard work and professionalism with my case. You and your assistant have both been brilliant."

Litigation & Family Law

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