Holly Coates

Holly’s busy court and advisory practice has become well-established since she joined Chambers in 2009, and she now specialises in family finance and property matters. Holly has considerable experience in dealing with issues arising from the breakdown of family relationships, including finances, children and trusts of land. She frequently deals with financial cases involving companies, foreign assets and pensions.

Holly regularly deals with cases involving children, including removal from the jurisdiction, complex domestic violence cases and intractable hostility. She has built a reputation for dealing with these highly emotional matters and the people involved with sensitivity and tact, and her ability to explain complex legal issues to people unfamiliar with legal terms, and in stressful predicaments, is highly valued.

She is trained to deal with family matters on a collaborative basis, using round-table meetings to assist clients to reach their own solution to financial or children issues.

Holly is especially interested in cases involving human rights and access to justice, and uses her spare time helping the local community through volunteering as a legal adviser for the Citizens Advice Bureau.

She is a member of Resolution, a national family law body committed to addressing divorce and separation in a non-confrontational way.

She regularly writes articles and gives seminars to solicitors in the areas of family finance and cohabitation disputes.

Holly is recommended in the Legal 500 2019Recommended for children law and family finance cases.


Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

Holly is regularly instructed to deal with financial provision cases following divorce, often advising before the issuing of an application through to FDR hearing and at trial. Her particular experience in this area includes dealing with the valuation of businesses, and issues surrounding pensions.

Holly has appeared in cases involving assets which are outside of the jurisdiction, including properties in Spain and Italy, and the sale of properties and a business in New Zealand. These cases involved issues of valuation, the applicable rate of tax upon sale and enforcement.

She is also experienced in Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 applications; making provision for children by way of property transfer, payment of a lump sum or periodical payments.

Holly has experience of applications for interim remedies including maintenance pending suit, as well as cases involving the variation of a final order.

Holly is known for her pragmatic approach and detailed preparation of the case.  She regularly gives seminars on developments in this area of law.

Holly Coates' Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Cases

Fair financial split many years after separation

Holly acted for a wife in financial proceedings following a long marriage. The parties had been together for over 20 years and were separated for 10 years before seeking to deal with their finances.  The wife was now in a long-term and committed relationship whilst the husband had remained in the family home. The husband Continue reading

Articles by Holly Coates

Family Finance Webinar: Make The FPR Work For You

21 June 2022 at 4pm to 5.30pm We are pleased to announce that Holly Coates, Nicole Jennings and Allen Worwood will be presenting a Family Finance Webinar. This webinar will focus on the latest procedure-based guidance within family finance proceedings and will concentrate on the following topics: The Family Procedure Rules -time for another look Highlighting the forgotten, overlooked or Continue reading

Seeking better outcomes: Divorce Coaching explored

Since Gwyneth Paltrow announced her split from Coldplay’s Chris Martin in 2014, many separating couples have been seeking a ‘conscious uncoupling’ rather than a ‘marriage breakdown’.  Divorce lawyers have been trying to assist with this admirable aim.  Many have trained as mediators or collaborative professionals in an effort to improve the outcomes – both emotional Continue reading

When Civil met Family: how to deal with TOLATA claims in Financial Provision cases

The Family Court is seeing an increasing number of cases where property is (or is asserted to be) owned by a third party.  As more parents assist children with purchasing a home or friends buy with friends, it is ever more likely that a financial provision case will involve consideration of who owns what.  Here Continue reading

Holly Coates' Testimonials for Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

“Miss Coates was professional, yet approachable. She had a sharp ability to home in on the important issues in what was a sea of information. She explained matters to me in a sensitive, but clear way and I am just so pleased at the relief her clarity on the case has brought to me.”

Ms V Instructing Holly Coates through the DPA Scheme – April 20

Children - Private Law (CAP)

Holly has considerable experience of a wide range of cases involving children, at first instance and on appeal. She regularly acts for parents, grandparents and children in proceedings dealing with all aspects of the exercise of parental responsibility.

Holly has particular experience in dealing with cases involving an international element, including removal from the jurisdiction to the USA, Romania and Russia, applications for Mirror Orders and Hague Convention proceedings in the High Court.

She often deals with complex cases involving parents with mental health difficulties and serious domestic violence, where she has a reputation for dealing sensitively with her clients’ issues.

Holly Coates' Children - Private Law (CAP) Cases

Holly Coates represents a Father in Children’s Proceedings

Children Act 1989 Holly was involved in a case in which the father sought a child arrangements order, which the mother opposed.  The mother alleged that she had suffered serious domestic abuse at the hands of the father.  During the proceedings, cross-applications were made for disclosure of the case papers to the Crown Prosecution Service, Continue reading

Agreeing shared care arrangement

Holly represented a mother who was seeking the reinstatement of a shared care arrangement for the parties’ child. The arrangement had ceased due to the mother experiencing a breakdown in her mental health and the child had therefore spent some months in the sole care of the father. The father now sought that the child Continue reading

Articles by Holly Coates

The Collaborative Process

Following separation, the traditional process of resolution of issues through correspondence or the court process works for many. But, whether to avoid the long delays caused by court listings, the cost of complying with directions or simply the adversarial nature of disputes, an increasing number are now seeking a more amicable resolution. The collaborative process Continue reading

Duties towards litigants-in-person: a timely reminder

Peter Jackson J has used a recent case to remind practitioners of the need to adapt normal working practices when dealing with a litigant-in-person. The case, reported as Re B (Litigant in Person: Timely Service of Documents) [2016] EWHC 2365 (Fam), involved the alleged abduction of a child.  The father was represented, the mother was Continue reading

Myth-busting the collaborative process

In my view there are many reasons why we lawyers should be getting serious about the collaborative process. The first is the over-stretched, over-burdened and under-resourced Court Service, which means that clients have to wait longer than ever for the resolution of their case.  The second is the ever-more-limited resources of clients, and the difficulty Continue reading

Holly Coates' Testimonials for Children - Private Law (CAP)

“…Brilliant news – well done and thank you for all your help. I bet the client is over the moon…”

Mr S from Solicitors instructing Holly Coates – September 17

 “Thanks again for all of Holly’s help, you both made a huge difference and you definitely helped to relieve some of the pressure and  anxiety ……”


Mr S Instructing Holly Coates through Solicitors – February 17

Collaborative Law

Holly is trained to use a collaborative process to resolve family issues including finances, trusts of land and arrangements for children. This involves a series of meetings between the former couple and their lawyers in which the focus is on creating a bespoke agreement for the family.   At the end of the process the agreement is signed and, if necessary, the lawyers will arrange for it to be recorded in a court order. The process works particularly well for those who wish to retain communication with their former partner perhaps for the sake of the children, and to avoid the adversarial court process.

Further information on this process is available here

Articles by Holly Coates

3 things collaborative law training taught me

A few weeks ago I attended the Resolution training on collaborative law.  For those not acquainted with the concept, collaborative practice looks for a client-led solution to family disputes, with both sides being represented and agreeing their own arrangements at a series of four-way meetings.  The lawyers and parties sign a commitment to work collaboratively, Continue reading

Civil Partnership & Cohabitation Dispute

Holly is sought after for her experience in advising upon and drafting pleadings in cohabitation disputes, as well as her skill in representing her clients at trial. This includes proceedings where there are concurrent TOLATA and Schedule 1 applications.

She regularly advises clients from a pre-proceedings stage through to trial.  She deals with cases involving disputes over the ownership of property whether between a couple, family members or in a more commercial context.  She has experience of dealing with sole and joint name ownership, claims involving undue influence, rectification of title and the legitimacy of gifts.

She is highly regarded for her sympathetic representation of vulnerable clients and her attention to detail. She has trained other lawyers in this area of law.

Holly Coates' Civil Partnership & Cohabitation Dispute Cases

Protecting a property owner’s interests

Holly acted for a property owner in a case in which his late daughter’s partner was claiming a share of a property. The owner had allowed his daughter and her family to live in the property for over 20 years, and the claimant lived there by virtue of his relationship with the daughter. The claimant Continue reading

Articles by Holly Coates

When Civil met Family: how to deal with TOLATA claims in Financial Provision cases

The Family Court is seeing an increasing number of cases where property is (or is asserted to be) owned by a third party.  As more parents assist children with purchasing a home or friends buy with friends, it is ever more likely that a financial provision case will involve consideration of who owns what.  Here Continue reading

Ambulatory’ intentions and beneficial interests: where are we now?

As is well known, in cohabitation cases the court is seeking out the parties’ intentions in relation to their property.  Where a declaration of trust exists, this is conclusively binding.  Where none exists, the court must rely upon what was said and done to establish intentions.   So far, so straightforward. But what happens when it Continue reading

Holly Coates' Testimonials for Civil Partnership & Cohabitation Dispute

I wish to thank you for an excellent outcome at yesterday’s Multi-track TOLATA case, my client was delighted with the outcome. Your very thorough preparation was clearly evident in your excellent Skeleton Argument.

Well done and I look forward to working again with you in the future.

Mr G from Solicitors instructing Holly Coates – April 16