The pandemic lockdown has forced couples together and put a strain on many already rocky relationships as divorces have surged, according to a North Wales family lawyer.

Rhiannon Compton has just joined growing law firm Swayne Johnson, who have six offices across North Wales and Cheshire, as part of their family law team and is hoping that an easing of social restrictions will also ease the pressure on her clients.

Rhiannon, 32, from Deganwy, has had her own pandemic problems after her partner caught Covid-19 and they had to self-isolate but now they and their two children, aged four and eight months are able to enjoy getting out and about again.

She said: “I was delighted to join Swayne Johnson who have a really high reputation within the North Wales and Cheshire circuit for family law and that was one of the attractions for me and they are well-regarded for their service generally.

“I’m just hoping that with an easing of lockdown we will be able to get back into court to deliver a quicker and more efficient service for our clients.

“We have made excellent arrangements at Swayne Johnson to meet with clients remotely but family law can be quite a complex and emotional area and if you can meet in person it is easier to pick up on body language, tone of voice and eye contact.”

Rhiannon went to Ysgol Bryn Eilian, in Old Colwyn, then did A-levels at Llandrillo College and was interested in studying criminology but she said: “My teacher thought something more academic would suit me and was probably right.

“I studied Law at Bangor and really enjoyed it there. The tuition was very good and so was the delivery of the course, the university was very diverse and I was able to attend from home.

“I gained my degree in two years and studied for a year, part-time, to become a barrister at Manchester Metropolitan University and was working as maternity cover at a law firm who offered me a training place as a solicitor.

“I decided not to return to Manchester but instead started studying Legal Practice at Liverpool John Moores, part time while in employment.

“It turned out to be a good decision because the legal sector was shrinking but it was just a fluke that I was there at the right time.”

Rhiannon spent nine years in practice in North Wales but decided it was time for a change when the opportunity came to join Swayne Johnson.

She said: “They are known for being very progressive in their thinking and their ethos and their website shows the range of services they provide and it was really important to me to move somewhere with a high quality of work.

“In family law when people come to you for a divorce or contact with children they are at the start of a journey and when they leave it is finalised and they’re ready to embark on the next chapter after you have guided them through one of the most difficult periods of their lives.”

Rhiannon enjoys travelling to far-flung places and has visited Pakistan where her grandfather was from and is buried and said: “I love going to places with different cultures but with two young children we’re unlikely to be going very far very soon.”

Swayne Johnson, founded in 1853, now has six offices across North Wales and Cheshire, from Menai Bridge, on Anglesey, to Tattenhall, Chester, in the east with a total staff of over 40.

Swayne Johnson Head of Family Law Jon Moriarty said: “We’re delighted to be able to make this high calibre appointment as we continue an expansion that has seen us grow from two offices to six in the last ten years.

“Rhiannon will be based at Llandudno and Rhiannon will bring additional expertise and experience in family law work to that office and to the new office in Menai Bridge which is becoming increasingly busy.

“She has spent all her career in North Wales and knows the area and its legal scene very well.”

Swayne Johnson Managing Director Sarah Noton said: “We cover a huge geographical area and provide a comprehensive range of services with real expertise so that clients don’t need to look to firms from outside the area for the legal skills they need.

“A big part of what we do at Swayne Johnson is about relationships. Clients don’t want faceless people, they want someone who can literally hold their hand for them and that’s what Rhiannon will bring to her role.”

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