Newark, United Kingdom
I am a specialist family lawyer with a background in a broad spectrum of areas of law. I have over 25 years experience in dealing with all aspects of family law for both married and unmarried clients. I specialise in the financial aspects of marriage and relationship breakdown including the division of business assets and pension sharing as well as child related matters. I also have an interest in assisting couples in planning and avoiding the consequences of dispute by entering into written agreements at the start of a relationship. These are particularly relevant for those who are embarking on the purchase of a home with unequal contributions to make, going into business together or individually, in a second or subsequent relationship and there are children from a former relationship to protect financially or where there is a significant discrepancy in assets.
I am a strong advocate of dispute resolution and enjoy working with people to assist them in minimising conflict and finding solutions to allow them to move forward with their lives retaining as much as possible of what they have acquired during their relationship. I deal not only with end of relationship issues but also assist those in planning for the future by way of living together and marital agreements. My aim is to avoid litigation and treat court proceedings as a last resort if it is the only way to resolve matters. To this end I have acquired various skills over the years in conducting non adversarial litigation by means of mediation, collaboration and negotiation. Since qualification I have been a member of Resolution, an organisation of family lawyers committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way. I abide by their code of conduct which means that I agree to deal with disputes in a constructive way designed to preserve people's dignity and to encourage agreement. However, if this does not result in a satisfactory conclusion I am experienced also in representing people in court.
I have extensive experience of helping those who are in business from sole traders to those engaged in family businesses as well as Managers and Directors in larger companies. I enjoy strong relationships with clients who frequently recommend me for my style of working and professionalism.
As a Collaborative lawyer I have been specially trained to offer support and guidance to couples in dispute who agree to work with their lawyers as a team in meetings to resolve issues without going to court. This gives people more control over what is happening and a greater opportunity to be listened to and focus on what is important to them and any children at a pace that is comfortable for them.
My expertise spread across the following areas:
I am always dedicated to ensure our clients get the service and support they need and deserve. In my line of work it's not always about the sole focus on legalities but understanding what matters to the client and how we can help them emotionally achieve the outcome they need.
Assistant Solicitor and Head of Department
I have over 25 years experience dealing with all matters relating to family, divorce, separation and children issues.
I have extensive experience of helping professionals, public service employees (particularly police and RAF) and those who are in business from sole traders to those engaged in family businesses as well as Managers and Directors in larger companies. I enjoy strong relationships with clients who frequently recommend me for my style of working and professionalism.
My expertise spreads across all aspects of the following areas:
• Divorce and Separation
• Financial settlements
• Relationship Breakdown
• Child Arrangements
• Separation agreements
• Living Together and Marital agreements
• Change of Name Deeds
1985 - 1986
Law finals course
1982 - 1985
LLB (Hons), Law
Sue recently provided me with legal support and services regarding difficult and protracted family issues. Sue was always professional and took the time to explain the underlying principles of family law, preparing me for and helping me understand the reasoning behind the eventual outcome.
I would recommend Sue, her work and approach.
John - a client
I worked with Sue for 8 years and can thoroughly recommend her professionalism and expertise which she couples with a warm hearted, caring personality.
Rosamund Evans - former colleague
"Sue was recommended to me to handle my divorce. This was one of the most traumatic times in my and my children's lives and Sue was empathetic, professional and kind in her approach to resolving matters. I knew instantly that I wanted her to represent me due to her honest but personable approach to such an unpleasant and distressing process...I knew I could rely on her to achieve the best possible outcome for my devastated family. My judgements were correct."
"All that's left for me to say is an enormous thank you for your professional advice and guidance throughout this rather protracted process (none of which I blame you for at all). Thank you also for your honesty and patience, not to mention your humour and candid approach to everything. It kept me straight at the times when I needed to be kept straight"
Sue has outstanding professional ability with fast and precise answers to questions you may want to ask. If you are looking for excellent legal advice, someone who is easy to talk to with empathy to your situation, look no further.
Karen - a client
Sue was recommended to me and has recently provided me with legal assistance and advice on a protracted family issue.
She is a consummate professional who quickly ascertains the situation and offers help and advice in a clear and precise way. I cannot praise Sue enough with her tenacious ways and cheery manner. Sue is a lady who means business, I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Sue.
Paul - a client
'I don't!' Calls rise in Lincs as couples break up on Divorce Day
"I'm going to lose weight" or "I'm going to quit smoking" – these are some of the typical New Year resolutions we expect to hear.
But now is the time of year some Lincolnshire people seeking a fresh start decide to cut ties with their partners.
Every year Andrew & Co Solicitors, based in both Lincoln and Newark, receives an increase in inquiries about "rocky relationships".
It appears now is the busiest time of the year for couples to file for divorce.
For those with a family, it's a time when children go back to school and parents have had time over Christmas to contemplate their future.
In the county, approximately 1,400 couples file for divorce in the courts of Boston and Lincoln each year.
In previous years, on average, 460 couples filed for divorce each month from January to March.
This compares with 420 during each month for the rest of the year, confirming that Christmas can put too much strain on some relationships.
The rate of Lincolnshire couples filing for
Head of family law at Andrew & Co Solicitors, Sue Leadbeater, wants greater support for couples who sometimes feel they can manage the process themselves.
"DIY can seem a sensible option when you're trying to keep the lid on costs and everyone is saying it's simple," said Sue.
"And while it's true that the application process itself is relatively straightforward, that's only one small part. Nor is it fool-proof, and if you get it wrong it could lead to paperwork being sent back, which could mean additional court fees."
In addition to the cuts to legal aid and higher court fees – the cost of applying for a divorce increased from £410 to £550 in March 2016.
There is also the expense of setting up two homes and many couples are turning to increasingly desperate measures.
For some, it involves continuing to live together, even when officially separated, or even post-divorce, including so-called 'bird nesting' arrangements, where the children stay in the family home and the parents come and go.
Others turn to online help or untrained mediators, only to discover later that they may have agreed financial or childcare outcomes that leave them at a significant disadvantage, when professional advice and representation could have reached a fairer outcome.
Sue said: "It's tough sorting things out between the two of you when emotions are running high, but talking things through is the best way and having someone help you with those conversations is a good idea.
"They don't have to be a professional, but you should have expert input at some stage in the negotiations, to make sure that what you have agreed is fair, that neither party is pushing the other into a corner, and that it is in line with what you could expect as a reasonable outcome if you had gone to court."
Research shows that couples who share their problems with each other are more likely to overcome difficulties than those who share problems with their friends.
Reported in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that sharing concerns with a friend increased the odds of a break-up by 33 per cent, but talking it out with a partner doubled the chances of them staying together.
"Ending a marriage is one of the toughest things anyone will ever deal with, and what's needed is a well-informed, collaborative approach," said Sue.
"The couple, and anyone supporting or advising them, need to be focused on achieving an outcome through positive negotiation that is more talk, less war."
Resolution members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.