Romford, United Kingdom
With over 30 years’ experience in family law, I lead the family and divorce law team at Mullis & Peake. I have extensive experience and expertise across most aspects of family law.
My particular interest is in complex and high value financial applications within divorce proceedings, such as claims involving a family business or complicated investment arrangements. I also represent clients in complex cases involving children.
I am a member of Resolution and therefore subscribe to their Code of Practice, which promotes a constructive and non-confrontational approach to the resolution of family law issues. I am also an accredited family mediator, and offer a mediation service in connection with a broad range of family law issues.
Solicitor & Partner Family Law
I practise exclusively in family law and have over 30 years' experience as a solicitor.
I have excellent academic credentials, having obtained a 2:1 in Law from Cambridge University.
Prior to joining Mullis & Peake LLP in 2002, I was an assistant solicitor and then a partner at the then leading London human rights firm of Winstanley-Burgess. During my time at Winstanley-Burgess I practised in both family law and criminal law. Since joining Mullis & Peake LLP I have concentrated solely on family law.
My main speciality is in high net worth and complex financial relief cases. I also represent clients in complex cases involving children. I have expertise in the preparation of pre-nuptial agreements.
I am as a member of Resolution and the Law Society’s Family Law Panel, and I am also an accredited family mediator.
I am particularly proud of having written and produced a Family Law Handbook last year, a glossy guide to family law aimed at helping both current and future clients.
1983 - 1984
1980 - 1983
Law Degree - 2:1
1973 - 1980
I would like to thank you for all your help in the matter and the support you have given has been outstanding.
Joanna and Jenny dealt with my divorce and child arrangements and court appearances for my children. They provided a fantastic service and very professional throughout.
It was a great process, I didn’t feel as though I have won or lost and thought you were brilliant.
Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it and I am so pleased with how quick and efficient you have been
Let me take the chance to thank you very much for all your help and support during a very emotional and testing time.
As everything is now concluded, I want to thank you for everything that you did and your wise counsel throughout. I wish you all the best for the future
I was more than satisfied with Joanna Toloczko, she is a very nice Solicitor and put me at ease as she was so understanding. She was very patient, unassuming and she did the right things. I have also used Mullis & Peake for property matters in the past and have always been more than satisfied.
Joanna acted for Mr S in connection with divorce proceedings and an application for financial relief issued by his wife. Mr S had a portfolio of around 30 investment properties. The case was difficult logistically in that we had to obtain independent valuation reports and financial information regarding mortgages secured on the properties, where the client’s affairs were very poorly managed and the wife’s solicitors were adopting a very aggressive approach. Managed to settle the case on advantageous terms for our client at the FDR.
Joanna acted for Mr D, a commodities broker, with a significant investment property portfolio, held jointly with his wife. Managed to negotiate a reasonable outcome for the client and drafted a complex Financial Remedy Consent Order.
Joanna acted for Mr S, a high level employee in the financial services sector for three decades, with final salary and defined contribution pensions worth in excess of £2 million, plus a family home and investments. Instructed an actuary to provide complex advice regarding the different options with regard to the pensions – successfully settled the case in negotiations following the FDR and thereby avoided the significant costs of a final hearing for the client.
Joanna is acting for Mr R in ongoing proceedings for financial provision for a child, and settlement of property, under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. The assets in this case are modest, but the case is challenging due to the relative rarity of this type of case and the lack of case law guidance in medium net worth cases.
Joanna is acting for Mr H, the main proprietor of several refurbishment related businesses held under a complex arrangement of limited companies, LLPs and traditional partnerships, with a total value of many million pounds – referral from accountant – proceedings ongoing.
Joanna is acting for the grandparents (Mr and Mrs J) and half brother (Mr L) of two boys whose parents refuse to let them spend time with their wider family. The case has raised welfare issues and two different local authorities are now involved in preparing Section 37 reports in respect of the children, who live in different geographical areas.
Joanna is acting for Mr and Mrs A who were the proposed interveners in Financial Remedy proceedings between Mr A’s brother and his wife. The brother’s wife had applied for Mr and Mrs A to be joined as interveners to the proceedings given that they were joint owners, along with other family members, of a number of properties which the wife asserted were held on trust for the family members and her husband. There are correctly formulated Declarations of Trust in respect of each of the properties, from several years ago, which make no reference to the husband having an interest in the properties. Directions have been given.
Joanna acted for Mr S in connection with an application for Financial Remedies. The parties had reached Heads of Agreement several years ago on the basis that the parties would do their best to convert the repayment mortgage to an interest only mortgage; the family home would be sold when the youngest child reached the age of 18 or completed her full time secondary education and the husband would pay a total sum of £1,000 per month by way of maintenance; the mortgage payments to be made to the mortgage and the balance to the wife. Mr S had made several attempts to engage his wife in the process of converting the mortgage to an interest only mortgage, without success. As these attempts were taking some time, a number of Court hearings had been vacated. The Heads of Agreement were never converted into a legally binding Order. Several years later Mr S instructed us that, as none of the children were now living in the property, he wished to set aside the original agreement and seek an immediate sale of the property, together with an equal division of the proceeds of sale. The case raised interesting issues as to whether Heads of Agreement amount to a concluded agreement.
Joanna acted for Mr O in connection with an application made by his former wife to capitalise maintenance payments ordered for her under a Financial Remedy Consent Order, following the sale of his business interests for several million pounds. Mr O wished to avoid the capitalisation of the wife’s maintenance claim. He had a gambling problem and it was clear on the evidence that he had lost £900,000 gambling in one night. There were interesting evidential issues regarding the amount of his losses over and above that level and regarding whether there were any funds left in respect of which an Order could be made. This case involved several applications under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act to prevent Mr O dealing with his finances. These applications were resisted by Mr O.
Acted for Mrs N in connection with divorce proceedings and related injunction proceedings under the Family Law Act 1996. Also represented her in connection with a Financial Remedy application issued by her husband, the main assets being the family home in Essex, a second home in Cyprus and a training business with a number of related businesses, the main issue in the case being the value of the business. Single joint expert instructed to provide a number of reports. Consideration given to the challenge of that evidence.
Since April 2014 it has been necessary for people considering the issue of court proceedings, in most family cases, to attend an initial meeting with a mediator, known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or MIAM. A certificate of attendance at a MIAM must be presented to the court staff before they will issue an application to the court. But what happens at a MIAM?
Most mediators see the couple separately for the MIAM, so don’t go along expecting your spouse/partner to be there. The mediator will provide the client with a lot of information regarding the principles of mediation and the procedure, so that the client can make an informed decision as to whether they would like to give mediation a try. It is a fundamental principle of mediation that it is voluntary, so clients have a completely free choice as to whether mediation is for them.
The MIAM is also an opportunity for the mediator to gather relevant information from the client to make an assessment as to whether the case is suitable for mediation. The mediator will ask questions about whether there are any domestic violence or child protection issues. The mediator will also need to consider whether the parties are emotionally ready for mediation, and whether there are any power imbalances that need to be addressed.
The mediator will wish to know what the couple hope to achieve via mediation and what they think the challenges will be.
Joanna Toloczko, Family Solicitor and Mediator at Mullis & Peake LLP said
“Family Mediation can often be a quicker, cheaper and more appropriate way of resolving family law issues than the traditional court process, but it is not for everyone. It is not an easy option and will only work if both parties are committed to the process.
It is important that a mediator should have an opportunity to meet with the couple separately so that people feel free to speak openly about sensitive issues such as worries about violence or intimidation.
People often come to the MIAM certain that mediation will not work, but once I have told them more about it, they realise the potential benefits and are willing to give it a try. Conversely, some people come along to the MIAM adamant that they wish to mediate because they have heard that it may be quicker and cheaper, when mediation is clearly not appropriate.”
Leading Organisation of Family Lawyers