Battens Solicitors has appointed family law expert Mala Mandalia as associate solicitor at its Sherborne office.

An accredited family law mediator and collaborative lawyer, Mala specialises in the legal and financial aspects of divorce, separation and children’s matters.

Her appointment comes on the eve of new rules that will require couples to explore mediation in more cases before a court order can be granted.

Mala, an advanced member of the Law Society’s family law panel, will work from Sherborne to increase Battens’ family law and mediation profiles.

She said: ‘I aim to help clients move through the divorce process as easily as possible and ideally without having to go to court as this saves on costs and is less traumatic for them and their children.

‘Separating couples are often faced with a stressful series of decisions on complex financial matters such as dividing up property and other assets.

‘Property prices, tax, pensions and investments can prove critical to a settlement and so my experience, tenacity and attention to detail in handling financial affairs are factors that clients appreciate.’

Mala trained with a firm in Kensington, London, and has worked for several prominent Legal 500 firms in both London and Plymouth. She is also an accredited member of the family lawyers’ organisation Resolution. 

Under children and families legislation coming into force in April 2014, separating couples seeking court orders to resolve a dispute over children, finances or splitting property must first attend a ‘mediation information and assessment meeting’.