Family Dispute Resolution

Eaton Smith LLP is one of the area's leading family law firms providing a full range of expert family law services to families and individuals. Our team of lawyers and support staff are proud that much of their work comes from recommendations from satisfied, existing and past clients.

The firm specialises in all types of family law issues including divorce, high-value financial settlements, the full range of children issues including residence, contact and care proceedings and separations involving co-habiting and same-sex couples.

We know that a considered and conciliatory approach to family disputes can produce a better, long-term answer to problems but equally, when circumstances demand, we can and do react quickly and uncompromisingly, especially in extreme situations involving aggressive behaviour or the safety of children.

At a time when the emotional stress can be unbearable, you can rely on sympathetic, understanding, experienced and practical help from our trained experts who appreciate that going to court does not always represent the most appropriate way of dealing with disputes and who will always consider alternatives to litigation.

pay as you go scheme

Eaton Smith appreciates that spiralling costs can add to the distress of an already emotional time that you will be experiencing; we offer a competative Pay As You Go Scheme which offers real control of your costs. Please click here for further details

reduced fee structure

Following the coming into force of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, many people will find that they no longer have access to Legal Aid for their family law disputes. Eaton Smith will continue to offer reduced fees following the removal of Legal Aid. Please click here for further details

family mediation

When two people are facing separation or divorce, it is vital that arrangements for the future are both fair and workable. In all cases, in particular where children and financial matters are involved, it is important that agreement can be reached with the minimum of conflict or distress.

Eaton Smith Mediation Services boasts two experienced mediators who are also approved by the Legal Services Commission to conduct publicly-funded mediation.

The aim of mediation is not to prevent couples from separating but to guide them both impartially to make decisions and arrangements for the future which they both feel are fair and reasonable. This helps couples reach joint decisions instead of relying on the court to decide their future for them. Although the mediator cannot give legal advice, she can give legal information enabling the couple to reach informed decisions and once the couple have reached proposals which they both find acceptable, their lawyers will convert this into a legally-binding agreement.

Negotiating your own agreement can be the cheapest and easiest way to a settlement and works particularly well for couples who remain on good terms and communicate with each other well. The majority of couples who participate in mediation are able to reach some agreement and find that their separation has been much less stressful.

How much does mediation cost?

Public funding may be available if you qualify financially otherwise mediation is charged at an hourly rate. On average, a successful mediation can be completed in three sessions although more meetings may be necessary if the issues are complicated.

collaborative law

This is a new approach initiated by family solicitors to manage the whole process of separation and divorce in a more dignified manner for both parties. In this process the family solicitors and their clients agree in writing to reach a settlement without having to involve the courts, and agree to work together to resolve children and financial issues which may arise out of the separation. Using their established skills in client representation, negotiation and problem solving, collaborative family law aims to help the client shape a fair agreement without the need for court involvement.


The collaborative law process if charged at the solicitor's normal hourly rate. You will be provided with a full breakdown of costs during your initial meeting.


Jane Mahaffey is a member of Resolution, the UK's specialist family lawyers' group, a qualified Collaborative Lawyer and was one of the first solicitors in this area to qualify. Please contact Jane on 01484 821311 or email

Supporting businesses throughout Yorkshire, the UK and internationally; Eaton Smith's highly regarded Business Services Team advises on starting-out through to high profile corporate and international transactions, helping businesses with trading agreements, internet trading, business structures, reorganisations, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, disposals, intellectual property, sports law, employment law, property, debt collection and disputes. One of our commercial clients has this to say about us:

"We were buying a large private company, who left us with a rather unreasonable timescale. I was therefore deeply impressed with the way you guys picked up the challenge and ran with it like the true professionals you are.

I think I heard a comment from the vendors about 'provincial solicitors' once at the beginning of the matter. I never heard it again. I can sincerely and honestly say, having had some experience of big city solicitors in the past, that I could not conceive how any other firm would have dealt with this in the same expert, expedient and insanely short timescale that you did. This is not flannel – it is a fact and I am humbled by the way you guys responded and looked after my interests and those of my company"

If you need a solicitor, you want to be confident that your interests are properly looked after. Our teams of legal professionals have an extensive range of skills and experience to offer our clients, who also enjoy the added benefit of dealing with a firm that is large enough to provide specialists in the many areas of legal issues that we cover including; family matters, employment problems, house purchases and sales, wills, crime and road traffic offences, personal injury, medical negligence and dispute resolution.