Family and Matrimonial

"Howse Williams handled my divorce proceedings with precision, professionalism and empathy. They helped me come to a favourable result and guided me through it with sound advice and excellent strategic foresight" Client testimonial in Chambers and Partners 2022

 

"They are experienced, professional and humanistic at the same time …. In a number of situations, their invaluable legal input has saved my child from unnecessary stress and mistreatment. I also highly appreciate their effort in guiding the case away from unnecessary emotional escalation." Client testimonial in Legal 500 2022

 

"I would like to thank you again for everything you did for us. Your team is amazing, you are always there for your clients, even on weekends and at night time. I'm sure the result of yesterday's trial is your hard work. I, as a client, can't imagine anything I would want you to change in the way you deal with your cases." HW family team client

 

Our Family Department covers three areas of practice:

 

Matrimonial and relationship breakdown

Probate, Wills and Estate Planning

Trusts, usually arising in the context of the above.

 

In respect of matrimonial and relationship breakdown, our clients are inevitably undergoing a stressful and difficult period in their lives; we provide a personal, practical and cost-oriented approach.  We work closely with other professionals in the field of family disputes, including psychologists and accountants, but particularly mediators, to provide the best solutions for our clients.  We fully support dispute resolution in the form of mediation, both in respect of children and financial matters; two  members of our department are trained in collaborative practice.  We are accessible, respond immediately when emergencies arise and provide our services efficiently and effectively.  Our clients' privacy and confidentiality are treated with the utmost importance.  We ensure that our clients have a realistic idea of what can be achieved.  We have no hesitation in taking action by way of legal proceedings immediately if the necessity arises, but overall our approach is conciliatory.  We are mindful that the cases we handle are very sensitive and frequently involve children.  We provide practical solutions and protect our clients’ interests.

 

Our clients include a broad range of individuals from all walks of life, including spouses and partners who have devoted substantial time to the home and bringing up children, as well as professionals, business owners, and people well known in the community.  Our clients frequently have connections with other jurisdictions around the world.  Consequently our children cases often cover the circumstances of international child abduction or applications for permanent relocation of children to other countries.  The vast majority of our cases cover assets in multiple jurisdictions around the world, ranging from modest assets to families with complex commercial structures and high net worth.

 

Key areas of practice include:

 

  • Divorce, nullity and separation, which almost always include negotiations and court applications in respect of children and finances as well as the logistics of separation or divorce
  • Stand-alone disputes involving the custody, care and control of children, access disputes, wardship applications and maintenance for children
  • Other children issues including paternity, schooling and name change applications both for married couples and cohabiting couples
  • From time to time matters of surrogacy
  • International child abduction applications in Hong Kong and through family law colleagues in other jurisdictions, both in respect of return of children  to their habitual residence  under the provisions of the Hague Convention in signatory countries and in non-Hague Convention countries seeking orders in Hong Kong and the overseas jurisdiction to secure the return of children from those countries.
  • Financial applications for maintenance pending suit, including financial costs contributions, on-going maintenance claims and capital claims including lump sum provision and property transfers or sale of property.
  • Emergency injunctions to prevent the disposal of assets (including worldwide Marevas), injunctions to protect the victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence, and sometimes to restrain particular conduct in respect of children.
  • Orders for the setting aside of financial transactions which have been made to defeat a client’s financial claims
  • Applications for adoptions
  • Nuptial agreements, both pre-nuptial and post nuptial as well as separation agreements
  • Advice upon reputation management and media issues arising from breakdown of relationships
  • Probate applications, drafting of wills and estate planning, assistance with drafting of deeds of family arrangement
  • Advice on trusts, setting up charitable bodies, drafting of family trusts and educational trusts, or variation of the provisions of existing trusts.  We have solicitors who are full members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and are qualified Trust and Estate Practitioners.


Key Partners:

Linda Heathfield; Stacey Devoy TEP; Karen Lam; Stephanie Ng; Victoria Ng TEP