Melissa joined us in 2017 and is developing a broad practice across all of our practice areas, including private children, family finance and property, modern families and surrogacy, public children, international family law and applications under the Family Law Act 1996.
Children (private law)
Melissa regularly represents clients who are involved in private children proceedings and is instructed for all types of hearing, including FHDRAs, DRAs, directions hearings, fact-finding hearings and final hearings. Melissa has particular experience of representing parties in cases involving serious and complex allegations of domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health issues as well as in cases involving parental alienation and implacable hostility.
Family finance & property
Melissa has particular expertise in the area of family finance and property, having completed her pupillage at QEB. She has extensive experience of a range of financial remedy hearings, including FDAs, FDRs, preliminary issue hearings and final hearings, as well as different types of proceedings, such as financial remedies, Schedule 1 and Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. Melissa also accepts instructions to draft related documents and opinions in this area.
Modern families & surrogacy
Melissa has developed a specialism in the area of modern families and surrogacy and she has particular experience of applications for parental orders and private law disputes arising out of surrogacy arrangements. She has previously worked alongside surrogacy/assisted reproduction attorneys and surrogacy agencies in the US and has worked for a leading UK firm which specialises in this niche area (during which time she worked on a number of leading cases). Melissa has also authored articles on surrogacy law and she has both contributed to and organised seminars/training sessions on assisted reproduction, same-sex families and surrogacy.
International family law
Melissa has significant experience of international family law, particularly international child abduction and international surrogacy.
Domestic violence & injunctions
Melissa regularly represents clients who are involved in Family Law Act 1996 proceedings, including proceedings involving allegations of serious domestic abuse. She has extensive experience of applications for non-molestation orders and occupation orders and of the different types of hearing, including without notice hearings, return dates, directions hearings and final hearings.
Children (public law)
Melissa has experience of care and other public children proceedings. She has represented the local authority, parents and prospective special guardians, including where allegations of neglect, abuse, non-accidental injury, mental health issues and drug/alcohol abuse have been made.