North East law firm Hay & Kilner has strengthened its specialist family law team with the appointment of experienced solicitor Fiona Ryans.

Fiona has joined the Newcastle-headquartered practice as a Senior Associate and has a wide range of experience across all aspects of family breakdown, with a particular emphasis on financial matters and child arrangements.

She brings with her a range of specialist accreditations and a sought-after collaborative skill set, giving even further depth to the experienced family law team at Hay & Kilner.

After completing her legal qualifications in Newcastle almost 30 years ago, Fiona has worked in different roles in a number of well-known regional law firms.

She is a member of Resolution, a nationwide community of family-law professionals who work with clients to resolve issues in a constructive way, and also acts as an Assessor for the organisation’s Specialist Accreditation process.

Fiona is trained as a collaborative practitioner which enables her, in appropriate cases, to work with the other party’s solicitor to resolve issues out of court

She is also one of just a handful of family lawyers in the North East to have undertaken the Resolution Together training, enabling her to advise both separating parties – so two clients can instruct her jointly to assist them both.

Fiona is a committee member of the North East Collaborative Lawyers Group and also works as a volunteer for LawCare, the mental wellbeing charity for the legal community.

Fiona says: “The collaborative approach to divorce or separation is designed to reduce the conflict, stress and cost involved in what is obviously a difficult enough situation at the best of times.

“Working jointly with the other party’s solicitor helps achieve this, and in appropriate cases, parties can instruct me to work with them both to facilitate an agreement.

“Other professionals such as expert valuers or financial advisers may be involved in either situation if circumstances require this and we have a wide range of trusted experts we use regularly as well as the rest of the team at Hay & Kilner across all legal specialties.

“If it is appropriate to the couple’s individual situation and both parties are willing to make a firm commitment to working together in a positive way, it can lead to better financial outcomes and better arrangements for children. Parties can work at their own pace and discuss issues which would not necessarily be raised in the court forum but are important to them.

“Hay & Kilner is a firm I have long admired and has a strong reputation as a forward-thinking firm that puts high standards of client service and a commitment to the community at the heart of its way of working.

The team has an excellent reputation and deals with a wide range of matters for families in the North East and beyond for clients from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances.

“Everyone has been really helpful and supportive since I joined and I’m really enjoying my new role.”

Hay & Kilner is one of North East England’s leading independent law firms and provides comprehensive legal advice across every aspect of the law to businesses and individuals from both within and outside the region.

Christian Butler, Partner and Head of the specialist family law team at Hay & Kilner, adds: “Family lawyers help people navigate some of the most difficult times that they will ever face, so it’s important to have the very best professionals advising and supporting throughout the process.

“Fiona has a wealth of experience in managing this in the best way possible for clients, whatever their particular circumstances, making her an excellent addition to our high quality and expanding family law team.”