Elissa Da Costa-Waldman (1990) 

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Elissa Da Costa-Waldman (1990)

Membership Status: Barrister - Full Member

Qualified in 1990

Contact Details:
0845 083 3000

General Information

Specialist in Family Finance

Ancillary Relief, including

  • High Net Worth Ancillary Relief
  • Cohabitation Claims under Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
  • Living Together and Separation Agreements
  • Civil Partnership Law
  • Gender Recognition cases
  • Collaborative Law

Details and Career

Since her call to the Bar in 1990, Elissa has become an established practitioner in her chosen field.  Using a creative and innovative approach to finding solutions to client’s financial matters on divorce, she is also an experienced and principled negotiator as well as an assertive and effective advocate, being National Institute of Trial Advocacy trained.  Elissa prides herself on having an ‘inclusive practice’ demonstrating approachability and sensitivity in dealing with alternative family structures.  Indeed, in addition to her practice in Matrimonial Finance, Elissa is also an expert in cohabitation claims of both heterosexual and homosexual partners, including drafting cohabitation agreements at the beginning of the cohabitation and dealing with matters by agreement at its end.

Elissa is an experienced mediator having qualified in 2003 and, as of June 2012, is  also an accredited Family Law Arbitrator.

Please click link to see Elissa's new (September 2012) Family Dispute Resolution Services brochure.


  • Contributor to Blackstones Civil Practice 2000 - 2003
  • Co-Author of Family and Matrimonial Law for Cavendish, 2001
  • Author of Everything You Wanted to Know About Practising Family Law’ for Cavendish, 2004 and author of various articles on both Ancillary Relief and Cohabitation for Family Law.


Elissa is NITA (National Institute of Trial Advocacy) trained and has created, designed and delivered the Family Electives on the College of Law Professional Skills Course on Advocacy, Interviewing and Negotiating Techniques as well as courses for the Continuing Professional Development of Solicitors. In addition she designed wrote and delivered Advocacy Training Courses for family practitioners in conjunction with Resolution and the College of Law.


Elissa is based in central London but is happy to travel.  In her limited free time she is a formidable Scrabble player, card player and budding novel writer.


"Divorce with Dignity" article on Collaborative Law (first published in Family Law June 2005).

"Amateur Dramatics" article on advocacy best practice when dealing with a Litigant in Person or McKenzie friend. (First published in Family Law Journal October 2005)

"The Houses, the Cohabitants & a Declaration" overview of Stack -v- Dowden [2005] EWCA Civ 857 [2006] 1FLR 255 CA (First published in the Bill of Middlesex Spring 2006 edition, the official magazine of Middlesex Law Society)

"Cohabitation Law Reform - Long Overdue"? an examination of the recent consultation paper on financial disputes in cases of unmarried couples. (First published in the Bill of Middlesex Autumn edition 2006)

"The 'Woolfing' of family procedure: proposals for change".  Reform of the FPR is underway. Elissa Da Costa looks at the potential changes and likely impact. (First published in Family Law Journal - December 2006/January 2007)

"Stack -v- Dowden Revisited" Does the House of Lords decision in Stack v Dowden bring any clarity to the current debate on cohabitation? Elissa Da Costa considers the impact of this important judgment. (First published in Family Law Journal June 2007).

“Change for the better”? In the first of her two-part overview of the Law Commission’s recommendations for cohabitation law reform, Elissa Da Costa summarises the key points and focuses on the criteria for eligibility and financial relief. (First published in Family Law Journal October 2007).

“The way forward”? In the second of her two-part overview of the Law Commission’s recommendations for cohabitation law reform, Elissa Da Costa examines the proposals for qualifying criteria, opt-out agreements and succession on death.

"The Loved-Up Divorce - how to be civil about it". Sunday Times Style Magazine 24 October 2010

Jones -v- Kernott - factsheet covering the major points. 9/11/11

Gohil v Gohil [2012] All ER (D) 287 - note of Court of Appeal decision (first appeared on LexisPSL Family on 28/11/12)

Disclosure and the interface between criminal and family law - first published in Family Law Magazine February 2013

Arbitration to the rescue? - first published in Resolution's The Review magazine, January/February 2013

Hourly Rate:

£200-£250 p/h +VAT


We are all still in amazement at your legal prowess, I think it is agreed all round you [Elissa Da Costa-Waldman] are the BESTůmany, many thanks for all your hard work and support.

Jan Bartolo Lay client, Trusts of Land matter

Elissa Da Costa-Waldman is the consummate ADR professional. Client focused, multi talented and innovative; she sharpens the cutting edge of family dispute resolution. If you get the opportunity to work with her, or train with her, jump at it.

Tom Farrell Merlin Financial Consultants Limited

Elissa {Da Costa-Waldman] is a dynamic, personable and professional individual. She understands the process of mediation extremely well. She is pro-active helpful and able to tailor her approach to who ever she is dealing with. I would have no hesitation in recommending her.

Jo Shortland Oliver Fisher

It is always a pleasure working with Elissa [Da Costa-Waldman]. She gets good results and is definitely a people person. I look forward to instructing her again in the near future.

Fahrat Qureshi Thomas Legal

Your [Elissa Da Costa-Waldman] passion, commitment and energy for using your professional skills to assist clients to move forward in a positive and constructive manner, in difficult times, is to be lauded. You epitomize the best of 21st century family law in practice with your commitment to conflict resolution.

Sheila Gooderham The Mediation Specialists

Elissa [Da Costa-Waldman] knows her stuff, is good with the clients, is thorough in her approach and a strong advocate.

Kit O'Brien Pardoes

Elissa Da Costa-Waldman is a very experienced barrister who specialises in high net worth matrimonial cases. She has contributed to Blackstones and lectures in this complex field. I hold her in deep regard both as a barrister and also as a family mediator. She excels in this field. As a collaborative lawyer, I recommend her. She is very skilful at assisting parties to settle family disputes, saving time, reducing anxiety and the human cost and money.

Paul Rose Robert Crawford Ltd, Chartered Surveyors

Thank you [Elissa Da Costa-Waldman] for such an impressive turn round of work and more importantly the content too!

Lynn Child Wheltons

I have worked with Elissa Da-Costa Waldman on a number of TOLATA cases. She has a detailed knowledge and grasp of the area and is always thorough and well prepared. Clients like her.

Huw Miles Head of Family Department at Paris Smith

Elissa Da-Costa Waldman is very knowledgable and personable. She is practical but will carry out the client's instructions in court robustly when needs be.

Richard Phillips Family Partner at IBB


Radmacher - latest on pre-nups, history, current law, usefulness & drafting tips. Free.

Maintenance Pending Suit & Maintenance Generally. 1 Hour CPD. Free.

Cohabitation Update. 1 Hour CPD. Free.