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Rise in number of divorces

A Shropshire law firm said today that financial pressures are largely responsible for statistics revealing that the number of divorces has rose last year for the first time since 2003.

Family Law specialists Mortimers Solicitors, which have offices in Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and Hereford, have admitted that over the last 12 months they have seen more clients filing for divorce than usual, largely due to the effects of the economic situation.

The number of divorces in England and Wales rose by 4.9 per cent in 2010 to 119,589 compared with 113,949 in 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is the first annual increase in divorces since 2003 when there were 153,065 divorces.

The number of divorces fell steadily between 2003 and 2009 in parallel with the decline in the number of marriages as more couples choose to cohabit rather than marry.

However, the family department at Mortimers is expecting to handle even more matrimonial cases than usual over the next few months, especially in January which traditionally has a very high divorce rate.

Karen Brake, a partner at Mortimers who is based at the Bridgnorth office, is a specialist in family law.

She said today that it is an unfortunate fact that the continued economic problems have led to more divorces in the UK.

“Come January people seem to want to make a clean start so we are expecting a busy month,” said Miss Brake.

“It is even harder for people with the property market as it is. Reaching a final resolution is not easy and this just increases the agony.

“Many people are forced to stay in a failing relationship because the financial crisis means they cannot afford to leave.”

Mortimers are celebrating the successful move of their Shrewsbury office which is now based in Windsor Place in the centre of the county town.


Mortimers' new Shrewsbury office

A Shropshire firm of solicitors are celebrating the successful move of their Shrewsbury operation to prestigious new offices in the heart of the town centre.

Mortimers solicitors’ Shrewsbury team are now operating from Windsor House, a historic property between St Mary’s Place and Castle Street, after moving from Swan Hill Court.

The family law, conveyancing and private client departments in Shrewsbury are now occupying spacious offices on the first and second floors of Windsor House.

Christopher Waters, co-founder and senior partner at Mortimers, which already has offices in Bridgnorth and Hereford, said that the move provided the opportunity for the firm to upsize and move further into the town centre.

He added: “Windsor House is in many ways an ideal location for us – it suits what we offer down to the ground.

“It is right in the centre of town just yards away from Pride Hill and Dogpole but it also benefits from offering real privacy.

“Balfours have occupied the building for many years and continue to remain on the ground floor but the offices we have taken on are on the first and second floors.

“They are excellent offices which are comfortable and offer a high level of privacy for our clients.”

Mr Waters added that there was further cause for celebration after the Shrewsbury office was awarded a Legal Services Commission contract to provide Legal Aid for matrimonial and family law.

This will bolster the firm’s already thriving private client work, he said.

“Considering that we launched an office in Shrewsbury for the first time last year, that is very pleasing to say the least,” said Mr Waters.


Perils of social media

A Shropshire solicitor has issued a stark warning about the dangers of the internet and social media on vulnerable youngsters.

Family law expert Bryony Walker, who is also a trustee of two charities which provide support to families, said that many people are unaware of the true horrors that exist in society.

Her warning comes on the day that a national watchdog has warned that Twitter’s child protection policies are lagging behind those of other social networking sites.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) has urged Twitter to address its fears that some paedophiles use the site to discuss abuse and link to pornographic images.

Twitter has said that safety is a high priority and that it acts immediately on complaints of inappropriate behaviour.

But Mrs Walker, who is a partner at Shropshire’s Mortimers Solicitors, said: “Once an item is launched into the web, then it is difficult to recall or rethink what has been released.

“The internet allows people to act quickly without thinking or reflecting on the effect of what they have done.

“So many people are naïve and unaware of the true horrors that exist in society which makes them truly vulnerable in the internet world.”

Mrs Walker, who works from Mortimers’ Bridgnorth office as part of its expanding family law team, is a trustee of both a local and national charity supporting families of children with disabilities.

“From this voluntary work, I know how careful one has to be to ensure that children are fully protected,” said Mrs Walker.

“We have to be so aware of the potential dangers that the internet and in particular social media poses for child protection.”


Hannah joins Private Client team

Mortimers is delighted to announce that it has bolstered our already thriving private client department by welcoming Hannah Banks to the team.

Mrs Banks has joined Mortimers where she will be using the experience and expertise she has built up over the last 12 years at a leading practice in Birmingham.

Mortimers has offices in Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and Hereford and Mrs Banks will be dividing her time between the three towns.

“I have been based in Birmingham for more than 10 years and so it will be great to work in my home county of Shropshire, as well as Hereford which isn’t a city I know well,” said Mrs Banks who lives at Admaston, near Telford.

“I will be concentrating on wills, probates, lasting powers of attorney, trusts and inheritance tax planning.

“The wills I draw up can be as simple or complex as necessary, whether they are for individuals or husband-and-wife documents.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for me. Mortimers has developed an excellent reputation in the law world for the quality of its family and private client work, and joining the team here is a chance I couldn’t let pass.”

Christopher Waters, co-founder of Mortimers solicitors and head of its employment department, said that everyone at the firm was delighted that Hannah had agreed to join us at Mortimers.

“Even though our private client department is traditionally very strong, we have been inundated with work which fits perfectly with Hannah’s sphere of expertise.

“I feel it is a real coup for Mortimers to recruit someone of Hannah’s experience in private client law and I am sure that her skills sets will fit perfectly into everything we do here.”




Property team bolstered by new arrival

A respected and experienced lawyer specialising in property law has joined Mortimers’ expanding Shrewsbury office.

The law firm has recruited Chris Mills to join its legal team and he will be based in the firm’s office in Swan Hill Court in the town centre.

Mr Mills, who has previously worked at practices based in Manchester, Cheshire and North Staffordshire, is an expert in both residential and commercial property law.

“This is an extremely exciting move for me,” said Mr Mills, who is 30 and has moved to the county town with his fiancée, Fiona.

“Being invited to join the Shrewsbury office of Mortimers, a highly respected firm, was an opportunity I simply couldn’t turn down.

“It will be a fantastic challenge and one which I am looking forward to enormously.

“Shrewsbury is a town which I have visited before a number of times and I have always found it to be both vibrant and extremely attractive. I very look forward to being based here.”

Mr Mills will be heading the property division in Shrewsbury where he joins specialists in family law, employment law and litigation.

Christopher Waters, co-founder of Mortimers solicitors and head of its employment department, said: “We are delighted that Chris has agreed to join us at Mortimers.

“We have been looking forward to bolstering our property division to complement our other traditionally strong departments such as matrimonial law.

“I feel it is a real coup for Mortimers to recruit someone of Chris’s experience and expertise in the fields of both residential and commercial property law.”