Renowned Pembrokeshire solicitor Gemma Scourfield joins top family law firm Woolley & Co
Experienced Haverfordwest lawyer marks arrival at reputable modern practice by welcoming legislation changes that “put family first”.
Gemma joins Woolley & Co at a pertinent time – with divorce enquiries rising amid the pandemic and new legislation changing the way in which separations are handled.
According to Gemma, the modern approach of Woolley & Co is best suited to serve current demand in line with the upcoming ‘no-fault’ divorce laws – with the progressive firm specialising in remote working since its launch in 1996.
A steep increase in divorce cases has further strained an already-stretched family court system, with cases from Wales now being processed elsewhere after the regional family law centre closed during lockdown.
Gemma said: “I think a lot of people re-evaluated what they want out of life, had more time to research the divorce process and found being confined to their homes with their spouses during lockdown simply gave them the impetus to do something about it. Life is too short to be in an unhappy situation.
“I have certainly found that the number of enquiries on divorce have gone up significantly during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this coincided with a regional family law centre closing for Wales with all our cases now going to Bury St Edmunds for administration.
“A key role for me now more than ever is to manage expectations for those going through separation, not just in terms of a settlement but also in terms of the timescale.”
Gemma, who is married with two children, said the introduction of no-fault divorce from next April will help many families navigate legal separation with less confrontation than the current system, which is advantageous for all involved.
Modern working techniques – such as virtual meetings and electronic paperwork systems – have also been widely adopted during the difficulties of the pandemic, helping to speed up cases in the long-term.
Gemma added: “We are seeing more family lawyers fitting services around clients rather than being tied to high street offices and courts have done away with paper bundles, embracing electronic solutions and online submissions which has been very slow coming to this sector.
“This is a business model which Woolley & Co pioneered in the 1990s but has taken a long time to catch on, but things are now moving in the right direction.
“Putting the family, the children, first is the number one priority and it is good to see that family law practice is now firmly heading in the right direction.”