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All About Jo

All About Jo

Or rather, all about me! I've dedicated my professional life to helping clients, students and fellow family law professionals avoid the family court; all in the hope that doing so will minimise the emotional damage of parental separation on children. I'm an accredited mediator, collaborative practitioner and pioneer of the Solicitor Neutral process, I call One Solicitor: One Couple process.

I came to practise the law relatively late in life; previously I worked as a manager in a large organisation. This experience gives me excellent organisational skills and makes me more approachable and practical than many solicitors and mediators. People tell me that I’m warm and have a sense of humour. Separating from someone you once loved (or still love) is never easy. I think one of my strengths’ is that I can see 'the wood from the trees' and I have confidence that problems can be resolved.

I wrote ‘(Almost) Anything but Family Court’, the foreword of which is written by Sir Andrew McFarlane (President of The Family Division), with editors Only Mums & Dads which aims to help the reader understand that they do not need to ‘have their day in court’ when they divorce or separate. There are so many other avenues to resolution; to appoint the right professional at the right time at the right price. Those professionals are not just solicitors and barristers but also therapists, family consultants, IFA’s, pension experts and divorce coaches. My approach is to work on her own or more usually with a small team to save on emotional and financial costs. Divorce and separation, are after all, emotional events with legal consequences.

In 2011 I founded Sussex Family Solutions which brought together lawyers, mediators, therapists, parenting experts and financial advisors to work together collaboratively. I work tirelessly and together to create an environment in Brighton and Sussex where collaborative work can thrive and become the norm. It was nominated for Collaborative Working award in 2021.

Do look at What About Aruna? (co sponsored by me) which are a series of online videos by psychologist Dr Rudkin about child development and how to help parents help their children deal with family breakup. 

Another resource I use (a first for this jurisdiction) are workbooks that allow you to privately explore how you feel about each of the decisions you will have to make. Exercises help you learn about yourself - your needs, concerns and hopes -and your communication pattern with your former partner.  

I lecture and teach students at Sussex University and Brighton University on non-court processes including the CLOCK legal companion scheme. I instigated a series of videos with students that touched on equality, diversity and the experience of students during lockdown, working with students to challenge the status quo and lack of diversity - Frank Conversations about the law for which I was nominated for the Family Law Awards, Community Interaction Award.

I regularly give seminars and workshops to fellow practitioners around the UK, at YRes and National Conferences for Resolution to teach and encourage the adoption of processes that will help their clients avoid court. 

I am appointed to The Law Society Family Law Committee.  I sit on Resolution’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee (having just stepped down as its co-chair) and on its DR Committee. I am a member of the Family Solutions Group legal committee. I also chair East Sussex Resolution.

I am listed as a Leading Lawyer by Wiselaw.

Jo lives with her wife (and their 3 dogs) in the Sussex countryside.