Founded by Melanie Townsend in May 2000, Townsend Family Law has grown into a highly respected family law practice providing a range of matrimonial and family services to clients in and around Essex and London. Client recommendation and a strong reputation for delivering a quality service has been integral to our continuing success. The boutique nature of the practice means that Melanie and her specialist team of family lawyers can offer clients a bespoke service at a competitive rate. At Townsend’s we are proud to offer our clients a professional service with a personal touch.
- Melanie TownsendPrincipal SolicitorMelanie TownsendPrincipal Solicitor
ProfessionalMelanie began her legal career as a barrister in 1991 and soon began specialising in family law, finally transferring from a barrister to solicitor in 1997. While Melanie led the family law department within a city Legal 500 firm overseeing two offices, the vision of a specialist niche family law practice was born and Townsend Family Law was established in May 2000.
Melanie has gained a wealth of experience in family law since qualifying and has been involved in numerous high net worth divorce cases and complex, emergency applications in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Melanie has previously been appointed to act on behalf of the Official Solicitor in Children Act cases. She is an accredited member of the Law Society Family Law Panel.
Melanie originates from Bolton. She likes good food, bad food (chips!), good wine, and spending time in Dartmouth, Devon, with her family.
- Marion FoleySolicitorMarion FoleySolicitor
ProfessionalMarion joined Townsend's in May 2018 bringing with her a wealth of legal and business experience. A reputation built over more than twenty years means that much of Marion’s work comes through recommendation from clients, their ex partners and other solicitors. She acts for men and women alike and routinely represents business clients, the self-employed as well as city, medical and IT professionals.
Marion has established a strong practice in divorce and financial settlements with an emphasis on financially complex break ups between married, unmarried and same sex couples involving business structures, pensions and overseas assets. She also specialises in disputes over children.
Clients have praised Marion for her steely approach towards negotiations and her ability to cut through the issues. With a reputation for settling disputes before trial, her aim is to maximise a settlement without wasting precious time or money. She routinely opposes the big London firms and she prides herself on delivering a City service without the City price tag.
Clients appreciate the quality of Marion’s client care delivered with compassion and reassurance. Her service is bespoke and tailored to meet her client’s individual needs.
After a detour working in the City, Marion took the traditional university route to qualifying as a solicitor. Since qualifying in 1997, she has specialised exclusively in the field of family law. Marion is a long standing member of Resolution.
Marion is married with a daughter. When she isn’t busy with the three “H’s” (hobbies, homework and house stuff) she likes to swim. Trying out new recipes and cooking for friends and family is also a favourite past time.
- Bethany RichardsSolicitorBethany RichardsSolicitor
Bethany qualified as a solicitor in 2012. Before joining Townsend Family Law Solicitors in September 2016, Bethany worked in the Family Law Department of an established London firm.
Bethany is experienced in all aspects of family law ranging from divorce, financial settlements, cohabitation disputes and injunctions. Bethany also routinely represents parents in disputes over their children. Bethany prides herself on being approachable, empathetic, and having an understanding of the emotional pressures generated in such a sensitive area of the law. She seeks to resolve disputes is a swift and non-acrimonious way.
Bethany completed the Legal Practice Course gaining distinctions in every module studied. She went on to achieve a master’s degree whilst completing her training contract. Bethany was the university mooting champion for two years running, which is reflective of her passion for public speaking and advocacy. Bethany also lectures postgraduate law students on the family law module of the Legal Practice Course. In addition Bethany has worked in the child safeguarding team at The Football Association where the emphasis was always on the welfare of the child and it was her responsibility to ensure that the child protection policy was upheld and adhered to.
On a personal note Bethany is married. She is a big Disney fan. She loves musical theatre and travel and spent 4 months volunteering in South East Asia, where she taught English to children and adults at a school in Phnom Penh
Click here to find details of Bethany’s membership with the Law Society:
- Berfin KayaSolicitorBerfin KayaSolicitor
Berfin completed the Legal Practice Court at the City University London gaining distinctions in every module studied.
Berfin qualified as a solicitor in November 2017 and chose to specialise in family law. She previously worked in the family department at a North London firm before joining Townsend Family Law Solicitors in December 2018.
Berfin has experience of advising and assisting in respect of all areas of family law and representing clients at Court. She has a particular interest in dealing with arrangements for children following the breakdown of a relationship and also has extensive experience in assisting those clients facing domestic violence, and obtaining emergency injunction orders for them. Berfin has worked with refuges and domestic violence support organisations to offer advice to men and women who have suffered domestic abuse.
Berfin enjoys doing her own advocacy at court to allow her clients the continuity of representation from the office through to the court room.
Berfin has an impressive reputation for representing parents, and providing the highest level of advice and advocacy in private children act proceedings, especially those involving the most serious allegations of domestic violence, alcohol /drug misuse and also the more difficult cases involving implacable hostility, including those where the children have been made parties to the proceedings. Berfin has a broad experience and a high success rate in all aspects of private law proceedings in relation to child arrangement orders, prohibited steps and specific issue orders.
She prides herself on being very friendly and will always look to solve a legal dispute constructively with the aim of avoiding stress and costs to the client. Her approach is to give honest and realistic advice to clients. Despite the heightened emotions that often family law, Berfin believes that this can be minimised with sympathetic support and advice focused on resolving rather than inflaming the situation.
Berfin enjoys travelling, spending time with her family and enjoys orange theory classes in her local gym.
- Caroline WolohanPA/Office ManagerCaroline WolohanPA/Office Manager
Caroline became a legal secretary in 1992 joining a solicitors practice in the West End of London as secretary. She then joined a City law firm where she worked for 17 years working for two senior partners in the corporate department.
Caroline joined Townsend Family Law in 2011.
Caroline likes spending time with her family preferably by a pool in Cyprus.
Townsend Family Law Solicitors in Essex, serving Epping, Harlow and Waltham Abbey, also Hertfordshire and Hertford.
- Julie VannerSecretaryJulie VannerSecretary
Julie has had a secretarial career spanning over thirty years, mainly specialising within the legal sector.
She enjoys writing poetry and music and has a huge fondness for animals.
- Laura SweetingAccounts AdministratorLaura SweetingAccounts Administrator
Laura's background comes from the recruitment industry , with 13 years’ experience as an accounts/ payroll assistant. Laura joined Townsend in September and deals with our companies accounts and office administration.
In her spare time Laura enjoys spending time with her young family and socialising with friends.
- Elizabeth BarnesOffice Administrative AssistantElizabeth BarnesOffice Administrative Assistant
Liz joined Townsend Family Law in February after leaving her position at a global publishing company to travel South East Asia, Japan and Australia. She has completed a Legal Secretary Diploma and is starting her career in the legal world.
She loves to spend her time exploring new countries, socialising with friends and family and going to music events.
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