Armed Forces

Specialist lawyers to members of the armed forces community, both in the UK and international 

Legal services for the armed forces

Putting your trust in Goughs Solicitors​

At Goughs our Armed Forces team is led by Mark Hood, a veteran who served a twenty year Army career in the Royal Logistic Corps as an officer before turning his skills to family law. Not only does Mark therefore understand your world and the challenges that come with it, but he has lived them too.

Goughs really can therefore provide you with the best legal advice to suit you and your needs.

Why else should you trust us?
  1. Our lawyers have either served, (in non-legal roles before re-training in law), have close family connections, or a deep interest in the community.

  2. Goughs lawyers have an understanding of the complexities and challenges of service life, as well as the culture within the organisation you’ve worked within.

  3. There is deep expertise in dealing with aspects of MoD systems including pensions, forces help to buy and service leavers.

We are strongly committed to serving the Armed Forces community, and are signatories to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. You can read our pledge here.

The Armed Forces Team is exceptionally proud to have been awarded Silver Employer Recognition Scheme status.  We are committed to developing our offering for the Services, Ex-Services and MoD community and are working with members of the community to better understand and meet your needs.  For Goughs, the Silver award represents a milestone on that journey, and recognition that we are getting it right.  We look forward to serving our military, ex-military and MoD community.

Family law, wills, corporate services, wealth & conveyancing

Legal services for military families​

As part of our commitment to the armed forces, we offer all members of the armed forces and veterans, spouses, reservists and MoD personnel:

• An initial appointment free of charge, face-to-face or by telephone, at a date and time convenient to you. 

• A 10% discount on all Goughs’ fees

• Fixed fees for some areas of work

• Complete transparency and clarity on all fees.

Why wait? Let's talk

The largest team of armed forces legal experts in the South West

Our legal expertise

We provide expertise in areas of law relevant to your needs, so that you can have complete confidence that you are in safe hands.

• Family law for military families – including Service pensions on divorce, protecting assets in nuptial agreements and resolving disputes in relation to children

• Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Estate Planning – to ensure that your wishes are followed during your lifetime and after your death

• Residential and investment property – we have particular expertise in the Forces Help to Buy scheme and advising landlords and other property owners

Business advice – on leaving the service you may be unsure of where to turn for advice on setting up your own business, purchasing a business or simply looking for inspiration on what to do next.

Your armed forces team

Annie James


Annie qualified as a Private Client solicitor in 2016 and joined Goughs in February 2020. She specialises in the preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, preparation and administration of Trusts, and the administration of Estates. Annie prides herself on taking the time to really understand the needs and priorities of her clients.

Heidi Cardoza

Associate Solicitor

Heidi is an experienced family solicitor advising clients on all areas of family law. She advocates a non-confrontational approach to divorce, separation, and other family matters where possible.

Hollie Plumb


Hollie started her training contract in September 2019 and for the majority of her training contract and since qualifying in September 2021, has been working closely with Gemma Sumsion in the Corporate and Commercial Team. 

Matthew Drew

Managing Partner & Finance Partner

As an experienced lawyer in the Family Department, Matthew specialises in complex, high-value financial cases following on from divorce and separation. Matthew also has a great deal of experience in private law Children Act cases.

Mark Hood

Solicitor & Head of Armed Forces

Mark completed a twenty-year Army career in the Royal Logistic Corps as an officer before changing tack to pursue a career in the law. Mark has a particular interest in, and an understanding of the effect that life in the military has when facing relationship upheaval or other related family law problems.

Georgina Catlin


Georgina has been practicing Family Law for over four years, qualifying as a Solicitor in 2018, and joining Goughs in 2019. Over the years she has developed a strong ability to empathise with others whilst also delivering firm and clear advice to clients to ensure their best interests are protected.

Helen Barry

Residential Property Practitioner

Helen is a Residential Property Practitioner based in our Devizes office who prides herself on providing a comprehensive and tailored service to all clients.

Digmore Sid

Excellent service

I engaged the services of Goughs Solicitors in Trowbridge, in particular Ailie Peacock, to act on my behalf for the sale of my house. Ailie was always clear with her advice, acted in a timely manor and answered any questions I had almost immediately. She was very proactive in dealing with the other parties involved in a slightly convoluted chain.

Ailie also managed a very late request from our buyers with calm efficiency and the utmost professionalism. The end result was a smooth sale and completion, with remarkably little stress on our part. I would not hesitate from using them again.


Margaret Wilson

Clear concise advice

Quick response to e-mails or phone calls. Will certainly use again in the near future. Clear concise advice patiently given!


Mr Ian Liddle

Excellent service

Excellent service as usual.



Superb once again.

Superb once again. Goughs provides outstanding service... professional in getting the job done and conducted with grace and care. Thank you Goughs!


Ashley Stone

Rhianna Cole

The solicitor I dealt with at Goughs, Rhianna Cole, was an absolute star, I cannot fault her in any way at all. She made everything in the situation I was in so easy to understand, and she guided me through an extremely stressful time, with extreme professionalism, yet a very personal and sensitive touch. Can't big them up enough.



Matt Saunders

Made first-time buying a (relatively) simple process!

Sophie was very attentive and responsive and understood the need to act quickly in regard to our purchase process. She was diligent with the paperwork and was very easy to talk to and clear at explaining what was required in terms of action from our side and from the seller.



Peter Hellyer

My first port of call for all legal services

I have found Goughs Solicitors in Chippenham & Trowbridge to be fast and very efficient in their services to me, they understand your instruction and get on with it! They are very easy to talk to, which is equally very important to me. They are my first port of call for all legal services.


Rosemary Griffin

Extremely efficient

I have used Goughs solicitors for conveyancing on more than one occasion. I found them to be extremely efficient and professional and wouldn't hesitate in recommending them.


John Smith

Diligent and trustworthy company

I have dealt with Goughs on a professional level for over 10 years. During that time I have always found them to be a diligent and trustworthy company, always willing to help when I contact them. During the last 5 years in particular, I have had close contact with Phillip Bolton, Sophie Laird, Luchia Hirst and Nadine Cook. I can honestly say these four in particular are truly professional, diligent and hard working people. As a result of their ongoing professionalism and friendly manner, I would always feel happy to recommend them to any of my clients as I feel this is also a reflection on me and the service I provide to my clients. I will only be comfortable recommending people if I truly feel they provide a certain level of service and I can happily say Philip, Sophie, Luchia and Nadine do.




Very human, understanding, trustworthy, feeling of honesty.


Your armed forces legal
questions answered

There are a number of pensions schemes that a service person may be a member of, each with their own intricacies and rules.  The pension will often represent the largest asset in a marriage and require specialist knowledge to deal with it fairly on divorce.

How then should it be treated by the parties when trying to achieve a fair financial settlement?  The main options currently available are:

1. Offsetting

2. Pension attachment

3. Pension sharing

For further details on the pros and cons of each option and which might be best for you, get in touch with a specialist lawyer.

Yes absolutely. A member of our dedicated armed forces team is a residential property practitioner who specialises in Forces Help to Buy agreements. 

The Forces Help to Buy Scheme (FHTB) can be a considerable benefit to service personnel.  It enables you to borrow a percentage of your salary, up to a maximum loan amount of £25,000.

The loan is interest free, does not have to be secured against your property by way of a charge (unlike a commercial mortgage), and can be used for the purchase of your first home, if you move to another property on assignment, or indeed as your needs change. It is currently a pilot scheme.  Its aim is to address the low rate of home ownership in the forces. 

To qualify for the Forces Help to Buy Scheme there are certain criteria which will need to be meet, in that you must:-

  • Have completed the pre-requisite length of service

  • Have more than 6 months left to serve at the time you apply

  • Meet the relevant medical criteria

The loan is repayable by monthly instalments over 10 years, provided that each monthly payment is met.  The monies will be repayable through your service pay or settlement payment.

Your forces Will will essentially be a basic document. At Goughs we offer a full service of private client advise to include not only your Will, but also advice on lasting powers of attorney, estate and future planning and tax planning. 

A Will is only one of many documents you may need to consider to protect yourself, your future, your family and your finances. 

The need for a Will is even greater if you own a property, are married, in a civil partnership or with a long-term partner, or have children. The only way to ensure your estate passes to the people you wish, and in the way you intend, is to make a Will. Without a Will your estate will pass in accordance with the complex intestacy rules, which may not match your wishes and are regularly subject to change by the government. Don’t risk it!

If you have children under the age of 18, you can name guardians in your Will. If you and your children’s other parent were to die without having named guardians, there would be nobody with parental responsibility to care for your children. In this situation, the Court may become involved, which would be very distressing for your children at a time when they are already grieving.

As a member of the Armed Forces it is especially important to take professional advice on making a Will and estate planning, as there are certain provisions which specifically apply to military personnel.

One area of specialist advice and expertise that Goughs offer is that of setting up your own business.

We understand that the skills and experience you have acquired are unrivalled and so we are here to help you put those to good use in your next career move. Get in touch with our commercial and corporate team for further information. 

Yes absolutely, with British Forces stationed around the world (and of course serving at sea), we have enabled processes and procedures to support you wherever you are.

Separation from family and friends can create a challenge to marriages and other relationships, and if things do become difficult you may also feel you don’t have anyone on hand to provide advice and support.

Fortunately, at Goughs we have considerable experience in advising and acting for people spread around the globe. Many of our clients tell us that they find us invaluable as a listening ear and moral support, as well as their expert legal adviser. And, of course, they do need access to advice from a solicitor practising English law, as in family law matters it’s very likely that English law will apply to their situation.

In fact, it’s vital to take advice from an English solicitor urgently if you have a family law problem abroad, because there’s a possibility that another legal jurisdiction (perhaps the country in which you’re stationed) may also have the power to deal with the situation, which may not be to your advantage, particularly where children issues are concerned.

What about the practical challenges of engaging with a solicitor when you’re abroad?

Well, some professional formalities do need to be tackled. We have to verify the identity and address of all our clients. This usually takes the form of your passport and a recent utility bill or bank statement, but other documentation may do the job.

If we don’t meet you face to face initially, you will need to liaise with an authorised person abroad who can verify your papers in your presence – don’t worry about the details, we’ll take you through all that when you get in touch with us. As far as ongoing communication is concerned, our lawyers are very comfortable dealing with their clients by telephone and email, and have extensive experience in doing just that.

We all have a few clients who we’ve never even met, because they are based some distance from our offices in Wiltshire – but that doesn’t prevent us from being with them every step of the way.

So, don’t feel you’ve got nowhere to turn. Get in touch with Goughs. And if you do return to the UK, come and see us – it’s always great to meet face-to-face.

Goughs offer many corporate services to the spouse of a service person, including running a business, employment advice, corporate secretarial services, and many more.

Why work
with Goughs?

Military Experience

Members of the team are ex-military or military spouses. We don’t just have experience of the law, we have been where you are.

We have been providing legal services to those in and around Wiltshire since 1882.


Our vast legal knowledge throughout the firm means we have others to lean on and learn from.

Our departments work together so we can address all of your specialist legal needs smoothly and efficiently.

Loyalty & Locality

We can provide face to face free of charge benefits to those serving at local barracks - we will come to you.


We are a signatory of the ‘Armed Forces Covenant’ and as such have pledged to support the armed forces. Read more.

Related Pages

Armed forces
pensions on divorce

Ensure you instruct an expert to protect your hard earned pension

Lasting powers of attorney - your guide

Everything you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones

Farming & Rural Land

Property Investment

Private Wealth

Housebuilding & Land Development

Why wait? Let's talk

Fill out the form below and we will get back to you!