Marisa specialises in complex private law children and financial remedies cases, particularly international cases, and family creation. She is one of a handful of senior juniors acting in both children and finance matters.

Marisa is often called upon to advise as to jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement, in a variety of international family law matters.

Marisa’s private law children practice incorporates all issues of parental responsibility including child abduction, relocation, and arrangements for donor conceived children.

Marisa’s financial practice predominantly comprises cases involving family businesses, farm partnerships, family trusts, real property and pensions, and includes financial provision following overseas divorce.

In addition to acting as counsel, she is also an arbitrator and Recorder, acts as an early neutral evaluator (private FDRs) and provides expert evidence as to English family law to other jurisdictions. She is a fellow of the IAFL.


Key cases & testimonials

  • A v A [2023] concerning jurisdiction pursuant to The Hague Convention 1996 post Brexit
  • Osborne v Arnold [2023] revocation of adoption following incorrect registration of same sex couple’s parentage of a child.
  • IG (Child Abduction: Habitual Residence) [2021] Successful appeal of return order to South Korea.
  • R (McConnell and YY) [2020] representation of child in case concerning registration of trans father on child’s birth certificate
  • MG and JG v JF [2016] successful application for costs allowance for legal costs of representation in Children Act proceedings.
Marisa is a phenomenal barrister. She is a silk in all but name. She has a serene presence in court and judges want to hear what she has to say. Legal 500 2024
Marisa is an intellectual powerhouse and a true leader in the field of surrogacy.Chambers UK 2024
She is ferocious but in a very understated, calm and collected manner. Her case preparation is faultless and clients feel very safe in her hands. She can highlight strengths and weaknesses without a client feeling uneasy, and once engaged on a matter she has an eye for detail that is unrivalled. Chambers UK 2023
She is incredibly competent in court, like a silent assassin.Chambers UK 2021
A detail queen. She considers matters from every angle and leaves no stone unturned. She makes herself available at all times between hearings for ad hoc advice and supports you throughout the life of a case.Chambers UK 2020

Areas of expertise

Marisa specialises in complex high net worth financial matters, both domestic and following overseas divorce.

Her cases predominantly involve multiple properties and family businesses of wide ranging nature, including multiple interlinked businesses, partnerships and farms.

In addition to representing the divorcing parties, she also represents intervening parties where there are issues as to ownership of property or the nature and extent of third party business interests or family trusts.

Marisa also advises and represents parties in Sch. 1 applications for financial provision for children and issues of child maintenance, domestic and international.

Marisa has particular expertise in issues of jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement. She is frequently engaged at an early stage of international cases to advise on jurisdiction, and her clients include lawyers from other jurisdictions seeking guidance prior to issue. Marisa also advises on issues such as recognition of a foreign marriage or divorce, and enforcement of overseas maintenance orders.

Marisa is a qualified arbitrator (CIArb) (finance), and sits as a Recorder and a Private FDR judge. She is also a qualified collaborative lawyer.

Marisa’s private law children practice includes all aspects of children law;
– arrangements for children
– fact finding hearings
– specific issues relating to children such as schooling, travel abroad or medical treatment.
– relocation – domestic and international
– child abduction – Hague and non-Hague
– jurisdictional disputes in children matters
– adoption – domestic and international
– recognition of parental status
– recognition and enforcement of overseas orders relating to children

Marisa is a leading barrister in the field of family creation and donor conceived children and has appeared in many of the reported cases concerning the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2009 and parental status including after surrogacy. Her expertise extends to cases concerning issues of gender identity. She is one of the authors of “Children and Same Sex Families: A Legal Handbook” (Jordan Publishing 2012) reflecting her longstanding expertise in this field. Her work in relation to donor conceived children has involved working with organisations such as the HFEA and Association of Clinical Embryologists. Marisa has delivered training to a wide range of interested groups or clients.

As one of the first barristers to train as a collaborative lawyer, Marisa has a longstanding commitment to dispute resolution outside the court arena.

She is a qualified arbitrator (CIArb) in financial matters and also acts as a private FDR ‘judge’ in financial remedy cases.

Marisa’s practice is one focussed on international matters, and she is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. As one of the few senior juniors instructed in both children and finance cases at a high level, she is well placed to advise clients on all aspects of their case when considering issues as which jurisdiction to issue in, and the enforceability of orders.

In addition to advising and representing clients in relation to contentious matters such as abduction, relocation and financial provision following overseas divorce, Marisa also has specialist expertise in respect recognition of personal status. She advises on issues such as validity of marriage or divorce, parental orders following international surrogacy, and recognition of adoptive status.

Marisa’s international practice includes advising overseas lawyers and providing expert evidence to courts in other jurisdictions concerning the family law of England and Wales.

Further information

Head of Pupillage for the 36 Group 2020 to present.