Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF


Divorce and Separation

Relationship breakdowns are often cited as one of the most stressful times of our lives, and we understand clients want to obtain a resolution as quickly and cost effectively as possible. We offer empathetic, robust and concise advice in relation to both divorce and separation.

With regard divorce, we assist clients to identify which of the 5 grounds for divorce they wish to use and  guide them through the divorce process step by step, providing both legal and practical advice to ensure their best interests are provided for. Divorce, if uncontested, usually takes 4 to 6 months to conclude with the Court granting the petitioner the Decree Absolute bringing the marriage legally to an end.

Most people who have separated from their spouse require the security of a Financial Order which deals with the division of property, businesses, pensions, savings, shares, endowment and life insurance policies and debt in relation to the finances from the marriage.

It also highlights income provisions for themselves and any children and the conclusion of financial relations between the ex-spouses. Even if there are no assets of the marriage it is highly recommended that, to avoid future surprises, ex-spouses enter into a Financial Order to provide for no further financial relationship between them ensuring that neither spouse in the future can seek a financial claim against the other.

We specialise in advising clients in relation to finances upon separation whatever the composition of the matrimonial or non-matrimonial assets. We advise through the process and analysis of financial disclosure on both sides, and consider the personal financial circumstances of our clients now and in the foreseeable future. We negotiate fair financial settlements for our clients which provide for their needs and lifestyle as well as their children’s.  We are skilled at both negotiating the terms of a financial settlement on our client’s behalf and drafting this into a final agreed Financial Order, however complex.

In the event that a settlement cannot be reached between our client and their ex-spouse we robustly represent and advise our client’s throughout Financial Proceedings before the Family Court. All our solicitors are experienced family solicitors who ensure that our clients cases are presented and argued before the Court in a concise and forthright manner with all legal documents drafted to a high standard.

Financial Orders can only be obtained upon the grant of the Decree Absolute in divorce proceedings, therefore for clients who have separated but want to wait to divorce on the basis of two years separation or have no intention of divorcing our solicitors negotiate and draft a Separation Agreement between the spouses. This is a legal agreement entered into as a Deed making provision for the division of the matrimonial assets and non-matrimonial assets as described above as well as income provision for the spouses and children of the family. Clients who are not married but are separating will also derive significant financial benefit and security by entering into a Separation Agreement with their ex-partner if they shared assets.

For further advice on divorce or separation please contact one of the team today to see how we can help.

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Meet the Team

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Damian Summerscales

Associate — Family

Direct dial: 01202 307868
Switchboard: 01202 743286


Damian has over 25 years’ experience as a Family lawyer, dealing with Children disputes and financial issues arising from marriage or relationship breakdown. He specialises in particular with all aspects of public and private law Children cases, acting for parents, guardians and extended family members. He represents his clients at all levels of the Family Court and is known for his empathetic approach towards both negotiation and litigation. This makes him especially well equipped to deal with clients who face a potentially life-changing legal process.

At the weekends, Damian is a keen triathlete and can often be found swimming, cycling and running the Dorset coastline. He conquered Ironman Wales in 2015 and is now in training for the next big event.

Sara Gilak

Associate — Family

Direct dial: 01202 755992
Switchboard: 01202 755980


  • “I just wanted to say many, many thanks for wrapping this all up on my behalf. I am very grateful that the process was pretty straight forward and handled by yourselves with next to no “dis-comfort” caused to me.

    A lesson in life has surely been learnt !! Though I enjoyed meeting you I am sure you understand when I say I hope our paths never cross again … professionally 😊”


  • “From my first tentative meeting with Sara she gave me the confidence to pursue my case especially with regard to securing my financial future.. Sara was in all aspects very professional but at the same time made me feel very comfortable with our relevant discussions no matter how difficult or my need for greater understanding. Telephone and written correspondence was excellent I never at anytime felt I was not being informed of any latest developments or progress….In the end Sara achieved a successful result for me securing my financial future for the rest of my life. I cannot speak highly enough of the service Sara gave me.”


  • “Sara Gilak helped and assisted in maintaining my mother-in-law’s rights and she was able to explain the options that led to the final settlement clearly and in an easily understandable way.”


  • “I would like to record that Sara Gilak and her secretary gave me excellent support throughout my divorce. Thank You.”


  • “What amazing staff you have. Sara was thoughtful, kind, understanding and completely confidential and so prompt with any news or call backs. I can't thank you enough and will highly recommend you. ”

    Sarah Oatley

  • “Thank you for your assistance and patience throughout the whole process and wider experience, it really was very much appreciated. I would certainly recommend Laceys in future, in particular Sara and her secretary, very professional. ”


Sara is an experienced family law associate solicitor who advises clients in relation to all private family matters to include divorce, finances, children contact and residence disputes and injunctions for victims of domestic violence. Sara also represents clients who are in dispute over property ownership.

Sara specialises in advising clients in relation to financial matters prior to marriage in the form of Cohabitation Agreements and Prenuptial Agreements and as a result of marriages and relationships ending in relation to legal separation and divorce.

Sara provides her clients with clear, concise and professional advice and representation to resolve their legal issues and enable them to move forward with their lives.

Outside of work Sara is an avid diner who seeks to sample the menu of as many restaurants and different cuisines as she can in Britain and abroad and occasionally she will compete by holding her own dinner party. When not dining Sara enjoys travelling, swimming, reading and boot camp.

Pete Johnson

Associate — Family

Direct dial: 01202 307867
Switchboard: 01202 743286


Pete is very experienced in his field having been admitted as a solicitor to carry out legal work in relation to Litigation, Family, Housing & Personal  Injury in 1970.

Pete carries out Legal Aid litigation work relating to Housing, Family and Care proceedings on behalf of Laceys who have been granted a Legal Aid housing franchise. Pete also does private work in these areas.

Pete enjoys Court work, with the aim to settle cases as efficiently and economically for the client as possible.

Outside of work, Pete is married with 3 adult sons. He also enjoys reading, walking and following Rugby Union.

Jonathan Talbot

Partner — Family

Direct dial: 01202 755990
Switchboard: 01202 755980


Jonathan heads up Laceys family department with over 30 years experience in Family Law.

He specialises in Family and Relationship Breakdowns, Financial Remedies, Collaborative Law and International Family Law.

Jonathan has a exceptional caring nature and will always strive to find solutions to family issues outside of the court if at all possible.

Outside of work Jonathan likes to keep himself busy by competing in Ironman 70.3’s when he gets the chance – which are no easy feat at having to complete a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and then a 13.1 mile run each race!

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