Iwona Durlak

Senior Partner

0330 107 0107 i.durlak@imd.co.uk Iwona Durlak

Iwona is a family specialist lawyer and as a Partner and co-founder of IMD she is overseeing providing of services to all individual clients of the firm. She ensures that each case is assessed individually, and that clients’ needs are fully understood by her team. It is paramount that our experts and clients connect on the journey to achieve just and fair result in each matter.

She deals with international family law and international probate. Her expertise encompasses all aspects of family law with the focus on international divorce and finances. Iwona also regularly represents Clients in complex probate cases involving Estates with multiple properties located in foreign jurisdiction or cases where the deceased dies abroad leaving properties in the UK.

Iwona provides personal, bespoke and compassionate legal advice and is always focused on achieving the best possible result for the Client.

She is also overseeing work of other departments, such as immigration and criminal, ensuring that all matters with international legal aspects are dealt with by appropriate experts and lawyers with adequate experience. She carefully selects the team for each case and works with the best experts and barristers in the country and has a trusted web of partners in other jurisdictions.

Example of cases Iwona dealt with:

F v F – Iwona acted for a German Husband in a complex financial remedy matter. H decided to instruct IMD Solicitors after he has lost trust in his previous solicitors and lost confidence that he can receive anything substantial as a result of the proceedings. Assets in this case were located in the UK (including a business of a value of around £15 million) and in Giblartar, Spain, Dubai, Poland. The overall value of assets was circa £25 million. The Husband was cut off from the matrimonial assets and lost control of the business initially set up by his family. The case involved instructing of various experts (business valuations, CGT reports, issues with enforcement of orders in foreign jurisdictions), and dealing with various applications including applications for orders to freeze assets, stop disposition of assets, joinder applications, and conduct issues. The case finished with equal division and the result exceeded Client’s expectations

L v L – Iwona was instructed on a complex international children matter by a Mother required by the orders of the UK courts to return the child to the UK. The Mother travelled with the child to Poland and following unsuccessful application to extend her stay there in August 2017, she decided not to return to the UK as the child disclosed sexual abuse by grandfather and the Father. In September 2018, the Polish court dismissed the father’s Hague Convention application for the child’s return on the basis of Article 13(b), a decision which the father appealed. In March 2019, the father applied to the UK High Court for a child return order pursuant to the procedure set out in Article 11(6) – (8) of the Brussels IIA Regulation. Regardless of the Father’s unsuccessful Hague convention application in Poland, the UK court ordered return of the child. Article 11 does not allow the court of the returning country much discretion. The Mother instructed IMD Solicitors to apply to discharge the orders of the UK Court for the return of the child. We managed to succeed with the application. We understand that not many applications for a return of the child were ever successful in the UK under Article 11 and potentially no applications to discharge such orders (that we did) were ever made as a consequence. We are currently awaiting decision on a further application for the transfer of jurisdiction to the Polish courts where mother resides with the child.

G v P – Iwona represented a Spanish Mother in respect of an urgent application for a Child Arrangements Order and Specific Issue Order filed to ask for the relocation of the child to Spain after the return of the child to the UK under a Hague convection proceedings were lost by the Mother in Spain.
The mother was seeking an order for the relocation of the child back to Spain and an urgent interim Child Arrangements Order to provide for contact with the child pending the final order. We successfully argued that regardless of the return of the child to the UK under the Hague convention, the Mother should be allowed unsupervised overnight contact with the child. We were delighted to be able to secure Mother’s contact with the child for Christmas and the Mother said it was the best Christmas gift she could have wished for. The application for the relocation is pending.

S v V – Iwona currently represents the Father in Child Arrangements proceedings issued by the Mother in relation to variation of a UK order made further to various international proceedings.
The Father is an Italian National who has been living in France for the past 20 years and the Mother is a Lithuanian national. The child is now 11 years old and proceedings concerning the child have been ongoing in various Jurisdictions for the majority of the child`s life. Contested divorce proceedings including child arrangements took place in Monaco. French Court and Authorities were also involved and various proceedings were ongoing between parties since 2013 in France and Monaco.
Parties’ Divorce was pronounced in Monaco. In December 2020 the Mother submitted an application to relocate to England with the child, the relocation took place in June 2021.
Further to the relocation, the M lodged child arrangement order application to register the Monaco Judgement and vary the same in respect of contact between the Father and the child. Due to the parties’ mutual allegations and international elements, various authorities and courts have been involved in the case. At present, the proceedings in England are at early stages but the court had appointed the guardian. pending the outcome of the local authorities investigations and application for relocation back to Monaco will be considered by the Father.

P v P – Iwona acted for the Respondent Husband in relation to the financial remedy proceedings in the UK. The parties had various assets in the UK and Romania consisting mainly of the portfolio of properties but conduct issues were raised by the Wife due to a business of the Husband over which she had lost control and her allegations of dissipation of assets. The value of assets excluding the business were in a region of £3 million.

K v K – Iwona acted in financial remedy proceedings for the Polish Wife. The matter’s complexity mainly comes from a dispute between the parties around a land in Poland, value of which was initially in dispute but then assessed by joint expert at about half a million pounds. The total assets in this case are estimated to be over £1 million. The land in Poland is a subject to contract with a third party and is being leased as a photovoltaic farm. The division of the land to achieve equal split of assets is complex due to the contract in place and plans for the future use of the land. Although currently the parties are awaiting a final hearing, efforts are made by both sides’ legal representatives to conclude with the aid of alternative dispute resolution.

R v O – Iwona acted pro bono and worked together with a law firm in Poland to ensure that the Costa Rican Mother regains access to her child. The Mother’s only child was abducted from the UK in 2014. The Mother was successful with the abduction case and the UK family courts ordered the return of the child. The orders were recognised in Poland but unfortunately due to various issues with the Mother’s immigration status and court’s delays in Poland, the orders were never enforced. The Mother was facing removal from the UK and prospects of never seeing her child again.

We have corresponded with various courts in Poland dealing with international abduction matters and we decided that an application for contact should be issued rather than any proceedings for further enforcement of the orders, as the Mother had not seen the child for around 7 years. At the same we secured the Mother’s stay in the UK making successful outside of immigration rules application to extend her stay. We now receive regular weekly photos from the Mother with her daughter, as face to face contact is taking place. We helped to secure an order of the Polish courts for the Mother to see the child regularly in person, whilst when she instructed us she was facing a prospect of never seeing her child again and being deported to Costa Rica.

Clients’ testimonials:

“Amazing Company Fair and open Charge Policy. Just had a complex divorce with a very challenging partner. IMD great team steered me out of the toxic situation with big success. Iwona Olex and Marcin are fair and very professional. Full hearted approach and extremely professional. IMD not the problem they are the SOLUTION to simple and complex legal problems. Top ranking. Very Grateful the best firm I ever deal with.”

“Wonderful prompt service couldn’t fault it on any level. Ms Iwona worked miracle providing us with everything within hours! Very friendly staff too made the whole experience exceptional. Thank you so much from the bottoms of our hearts. L & E”

“Working with Mrs Durlak and her assistants was really good. They were able to explain, advise, support and help to go through my difficult case. The end result was a win for us and this is what I am very grateful for. Full professionalism, excellent communication and support during the worst moments. Really recommend!!!”

Iwona in the media:

Awards and Accreditations