James is a founding partner of Paradigm Family Law LLP. A proud Yorkshireman, since qualifying in 1996 he has specialised in family law and divorce. He deals with all work arising from relationship breakdown.
He has considerable experience in dealing with the financial issues arising on divorce particularly where substantial personal, business and pension assets are involved. In recent years he has dealt increasingly with complex cases involving family and business trust assets where issues of liquidity are often prevalent.
James has expertise in farming cases and those in which inherited and pre-acquired wealth play a significant part in the assets. His specialisms also include cases involving pre and post nuptial agreements, separation agreements and Civil Partnership cases.
A dedicated client-focused, conciliatory and practical approach to cases is a good summary of the approach James takes to his legal work.
James has accredited expertise in dealing with those cases in which children’s needs play a significant part. He is sensitive to the impact that children have in the context of divorce and financial proceedings and the importance of taking account of their needs when determining financial disputes. James has represented clients in Schedule I Children Act proceedings seeking financial provision for children.
He has variously been described by a top Family QC in London, who was leading Counsel in both Supreme Court decisions of Radmacher / Prest as, ‘extremely conscientious and completely wedded to the progress of his client’s cause’ and a ‘first class practitioner….tactically adept and armed with a knowledge which is top rate’ representing clients with ‘patience and good humour’.
Frequently appearing on local radio discussing divorce and matrimonial issues James has also been a regular guest newspaper reviewer and contributor to BBC Radio Leeds and York. James is often asked for comment by journalists and has appeared in print in papers such as The Guardian and online.
James is a member of the Law Society’s Family Panel and a member of Resolution.
He has been Press Officer for the North and West Yorkshire Resolution committee.
James has also been awarded the Government’s ‘Help and Support for Separated Families’ certificate in recognition of his skills and expertise.
He is a trained Family Mediator and member of the Family Mediators Association.
Managing Partner at Paradigm Family Law LLP
September 2014 – Present
Founder and Managing Partner – Solicitor trained as a mediator and specialising in assisting couples resolve issues arising on divorce, family law, finances, ancillary relief, children law (private), maintenance, residence, contact, matrimonial issues, cohabitation, separation, property disputes, pre nuptial agreements and post nuptial agreements
Family Mediator at Stowe Family Law Settlements
January 2011 – May 2014 (3 years 5 months)
Solicitor trained as a mediator and specialising in assisting couples resolve issues arising on divorce, family law, finances, ancillary relief, children law (private), maintenance, residence, contact, matrimonial issues, cohabitation, separation, property disputes, pre nuptial agreements and post nuptial agreements
Partner at Stowe Family Law
June 2010 – May 2014 (4 years)
Solicitor specialising in divorce, family law, finances, ancillary relief, children law (private), maintenance, residence, contact, matrimonial issues, cohabitation, separation, property disputes, pre nuptial agreements and post nuptial agreements
1 recommendation available upon request
Director – Family Department at Lupton Fawcett
January 2009 – June 2010 (1 year 6 months)
Partner, specialising in all areas of divorce, matrimonial and family law
2 recommendations available upon request
Head of Family department at Fox Hayes LLP
May 2006 – December 2008 (2 years 8 months)
Partner and Head of Department, specialising in all areas of divorce, matrimonial and family law
Partner at Ison Harrison
May 1998 – April 2006 (8 years)
Partner and Branch Manager, specialising in all areas of divorce, matrimonial and family law
English (Native or bilingual proficiency)
Business Skills? Don’t be Daft I am a Lawyer 2019 (What you need and why you need it) (author: Ann Page)
James contributed to Ann’s book in the chapter ‘Yorkshire Legal Stars who have forged their own path’. Of his contribution Ann Page said, ‘Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey with our readers.’
The Financial Options for Divorcing Over 60s
Mindful Money August 14, 2013
Authors: James Thornton
While the number of couples of all ages getting divorced has dropped steadily since the mid 1990s, the number of over-60s ending their marriages has increased, leading to a new description for this feisty generation: the “silver splitters”.
Lawyers Raise £500 for York Child Contact Centre
Minster FM News July 10, 2013
Authors: James Thornton
Cohabiting: know your rights
The Guardian May 4, 2011
Authors: James Thornton
How to protect yourself financially in case you and your partner split up
Head of Legal 500 Family Department
Yorkshire Post May 27, 2008 Authors: James Thornton
Leeds law firm Fox Hayes has appointed partner James Thornton as head of its Legal 500 recommended Family Law department.
Roles reversed as women guard against the gold diggers
Yorkshire Post April 29, 2009 Authors: James Thornton
More women are said to be seeking pre-nuptial agreements to protect their assets.
Skills & Expertise
Advocacy Collaborative Law
Alternative Dispute Resolution
College of Law, York
LSF, Law Society Finals, 1992 – 1993
The Manchester Metropolitan University
Law LLB, Law, 1989 – 1992
Activities and Societies: Student Law Society Secretary 1991/1992
Boston Spa Comprehensive
O and A Levels, 1983 – 1989
3 people have recommended James
“I enjoy working alongside James: he is as friendly and professional as he is efficient and knowledgeable. I rate him highly.”
— Karyn Fleeting, MD, Tinderbox Media, was a consultant or contractor to James at Stowe Family Law LLP
“Whilst I have not required James’ services, as yet, I have referred a number of my acquaintances on to him and have always had glowing reports. His pragmatic business like approach in a difficult personal situation appears well received.”
— Richard Forth, Managing Director, Forths Forensic Accountants, was with another company when working with James at Lupton Fawcett
“A dedicated and dynamic family law specialist. James uses his particular expertise when dealing with cases involving children in his approach to financial disputes. His advice is always sensitive to the needs of any children involved.”
— Sally Clark, Senior Solicitor/Mediator, Lupton Fawcett, worked indirectly for James at Lupton Fawcett