Susan is a highly regarded family law specialist representing clients in divorce proceedings where there are substantial assets and cross-border disputes. Further, she has particular expertise and interest in complex cases involving children, such as international relocation and provision for children with complex medical needs from married and unmarried families.
Susan regularly advises on complex financial remedy proceedings, Inheritance Act cases, pre-and post-nuptial arrangements and jurisdictional disputes. She also has keen interest in and experience in protecting vulnerable clients, particularly those who have experienced coercive control and other forms of domestic violence in their relationships and/or who need additional protection to ensure their safety and well-being during the course of proceedings.
When situations cannot be resolved amicably or in a commercial manner, Susan has extensive experience and a record of successfully litigating at the highest levels including the Court of Appeal.
Susan’s clients are generally wealthy individuals and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their partners/spouses from a range of different professions and backgrounds, often with international financial interests and keen to avoid media exposure and/or reputational damage.
A popular choice for London break-ups.
A ferocious litigator when she needs to be but can also work in a collaborative way to assist her clients.
There's nothing in this business Susan hasn't seen and done a dozen times.
An experienced and smart woman. Effective, kind and on the ball.
Client review the from independent Citywealth survey
- Divorce (including international aspects)
- Financial provision on divorce
- Inheritance Act claims
- Jurisdictional disputes
- Relocation, residence and child arrangement orders
- Provision for children of unmarried families
- Provision for children with disabilities
- Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial arrangements
- Cohabitation claims and agreements
- Appeals: urgent review of Family Court decisions
- Protective orders: coercive control and domestic violence
Court of Appeal
- Represented the wife on a leading pre-nuptial agreements and international divorce case, in which it was confirmed that a spouse may receive a sharing award on divorce despite the existence of a valid pre-nuptial agreement which excluded the sharing of assets (Brack v Brack  ECWA Civ 2862).
- Advised on a complex case concerning domicile and international divorce, representing the successful respondent to the appeal, Ms Sekhri (Sekhri v Ray  EWCA Civ 119).
- Successfully resisted an appeal by the husband to vary capital provision in an order and against committal orders (Bezeliansky v Bezellianskaya  EWCA Civ 76.rtf).
- Advised on a multi-national enforcement, acting for the successful wife (Nightingale v Nightingale  EWHC 77).
- Successfully defended the husband in an international enforcement jurisdiction relating to child maintenance payments (B v B  EWCH 1029 (Fam)).
- Represented a wife in a relatively short marriage, successfully defending an appeal by the husband as to the quantum of the award to the wife (FF v KF  EWCA 1093 (Fam)).
- Acted for a mother of two children with severe learning difficulties and secured substantial maintenance.
- Obtained an emergency order that a father and his girlfriend could not share information with his children relating to their unusual genetic background.
- Secured the return of children from this jurisdiction for a celebrity father to California following his wife’s decision to divorce him shortly following an agreed move to the UK on a trial basis (High Court Order following contested trial).
Inheritance Act (UHNW Estates)
- Successfully acted for a wife seeking to assert her right to the divorce settlement following her husband’s death during the course of divorce proceedings. Executors claimed the value of the family business had substantially diminished following the husband’s death and were refusing to honour the pre-death agreement reached.
- Represented an adult son against his father (owner of worldwide assets including an international entertainment business) following his mother’s death, successfully gaining financial provision six years after their separation.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised by Chambers UK 2023 for Family/Matrimonial: High Net Worth
“There is no case that Susan has not seen; she has seen absolutely everything. She is resilient, diligent and hard-working.” Chambers UK 2023
“She is absolutely terrific to work with. She never leaves a stone unturned and determines to get the best for her clients.” Chambers UK 2023
“Susan is a very bright, experienced and formidable lawyer.” Chambers UK 2023
Recognised by The Legal 500 (2020-2023) for Family
Recognised in Spear’s 500 2022 as a Top Recommended Family Lawyer
Recognised in Chambers UK 2022 for Family
“She provides incredibly good service and is good at really complicated matters. She makes the complex digestible.” Chambers UK 2022
“She is hugely hard-working and strategically very sound.” Chambers UK 2022
“She’s very inclusive and commercial in her approach.” Chambers UK 2022
“Strong across the board team. Working with other disciplines makes them strong. Susan Apthorp is focused and determined. Ruth Abrams is very experienced”. The Legal 500 2022
Recognised in the Spear’s 2021 Family Law Index as a Top Recommended Lawyer
Recognised in Spear’s 500 2021 as a Top Recommended Family Lawyer
Recognised in Chambers UK 2021 for Family/Matrimonial
Recognised in Chambers UK 2020 for Family/Matrimonial
“Susan Apthorp can be a ferocious litigator when she needs to be but can also work in a collaborative way to assist her clients.”
Legal 500 2020
“Susan Apthorp is a ‘direct, strong negotiator who is sensible and fair’.”
Chambers UK 2020
“A popular choice for London break-ups”
Tatler Magazine 2020
“Excellent and very clever.”
Chambers UK 2019
“Susan is massively experienced and calm under fire.”
Chambers UK 2017
“There’s nothing in this business Susan hasn’t seen and done a dozen times.”
Chambers UK 2017
“Susan is tireless and determined in the pursuit of her case objectives.” Chambers UK 2017
“A real fighter who never misses a trick. You have to be really on your game when you work with her.”
Chambers UK 2016
Short Listed Family Lawyer of the Year, Spear’s Wealth Management Awards 2017
Susan qualified as a solicitor in 1994. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2020, she worked at the following firms:
- Sears Tooth
- Davis Arnold Cooper