Children

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At Family Law Decisions our McKenzie Friends will be involved in a large variety of situations regarding children matters. We help you put children's needs first and foremost, which generally means they should have the best opportunity possible to have as full a relationship with both parents as depending on the individual circumstances.

The types of cases we assist in will vary immensely but one thing that never varies is that these will be the most important decisions in children's lives over the short-term and long-term.

We try to make sure that we provide the most appropriate and practical advice and information available, so matters are not prolonged and as satisfactory an outcome as possible is achieved at the least possible cost in terms of stress, time and money.

We are frequently told by the parents we assist that our advice and guidance helps them hugely. Often they tell us despite spending large amounts of money with lawyers, we are the first people who explain the issues, likely outcomes and options in a straightforward easy to understand way.

What our clients have to say...

Almost a year ago contact broke down between myself and my ex partner. As a result of this I lost regular and agreeable contact with my now 3yr old son. Although I didn’t want to have to go through the legal channels, after about 3 months this appeared inevitable.

Although I had an idea of what I had to do next with regard to starting legal proceedings I knew I needed help. I visited my local Families Need Fathers meeting and met Mr Colin Brealey who chairs the monthly meetings.

Right from the start I found Colin to be helpful, professional and above all – totally child focussed. Colin advised and continues to advise me, along with many others within the Families Need Fathers meetings. Seeing Colin’s professionalism, I decided to accept his offer of assistance to help me through the legal process as a Mckenzie Friend. - This has got to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!
Colin advised me throughout the whole process – which in my opinion was much better than any solicitor I have ever had to deal with previously.

As I have already explained, Colin is totally child focussed and therefore deals with any issue in an unbiased and morally proper way rather than one of financial benefit to himself. That is evident when my costs for everything came to approximately 10% of a similar case I was involved with almost a decade earlier.

In short, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in strongly recommending Mr Colin Brealey to represent anyone who required a professional service for any matters involving children & family.
– Mr M. (Staffordshire)
Having utilised Colin’s services previously, I had no hesitation in engaging him once again to assist with a new matter. Although I’m now a veteran of over ten court hearings concerning various child-related issues, and was confident of representing myself in court without accompaniment, the assistance Colin gave in advising on the correct application to make to court, drafting the position statements, and helping me focus on how to present the case on the day, helped me achieve the required outcome.
– Mr T. (Merseyside)
Thank you for the amazing support and help you have been over the last few years. I really can't tell you how grateful I have been for everything you did.
Have a lovely weekend!
– Ms F. (London)
I have for the support and advice from Jeff invaluable. I decided to act as a litigant in person for a combination of financial reasons but also because I wanted to maintain control of my case and ensure the best outcome for my children. Initially I did this on my own and soon ran into difficulties (despite being a confident person in a profession which involves public speaking and analyzing information).

Having Jeff’s support has helped due to his: knowledge of legal matters; ability to prepare clear concise statements; and quick thinking in the court room. But its not just these knowledge and skills – he combines a supportive understanding of a very difficult and upsetting situation with a clear headed willingness to tell you when he think such emotions risk making you say or do unhelpful things. Thanks to Jeff’s support I have seen my children for the first time in a couple of years and am awaiting a more permanent contact order to be put in place.
– Mr C. (Hampshire)
Court proceedings between my son's mother and me had been ongoing for a year before I contacted Family Law Decisions. The case had become quite complex, with social services, a legal guardian, and other expert witnesses becoming involved. The way things were going, there was a distinct possibility that I would lose touch with my son. With the help of Family Law Decisions over the past year, I have been able to turn my case around and my application for Parental Responsibility and Shared Residence has now been ordered.

Family Law Decisions provided me with a McKenzie friend (Jeff Botterill), advice on the process, help working with the various experts, and other ongoing support, maintaining their child-focused ethos throughout. They clearly have extensive experience of the family law process, and they are sensitive to the effects that it all can have on a 'litigant in person'. I am hugely grateful to the support that Family Law Decisions have provided in helping me stay in touch with my son, I could not have done it without them. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone seeking a child-focused resolution.
– Dr P. (Surrey)
Colin is an exceptional man. He works tirelessly for Families Need Fathers putting in many hours assisting others. He has built up an incredible knowledge of how our system of law concerning every aspect of child contact operates on a practical level. He has worked through many legal cases giving hope to fathers where there had been no hope of contact before, often against seemingly insurmountable odds and achieving results! I can thoroughly recommend Colin to any person seeking contact with their children through the minefield of the British Courts. As a first port of call I would say speak to Colin for advice rather that spend large sums of money through a lawyer.
– Mr O. (Derbyshire)
With Jeff Botterill's guidance, I was able to get my application successfully heard at the Central Family court and secure an order to see my 14-year-old daughter.

My application had previously been dismissed and I was losing hope and lacking the motivation to make progress. Jeff's direct and no-nonsense approach was invaluable throughout very complex and difficult proceedings. Even though we did not always agree he was able to see the best way forward and even gain the respect of the Judge. He was always calm, reliable, professional and reassuring when I needed it. I am now seeing my daughter regularly and am grateful to benefit from his experience.
Thanks,
– Mr S. (London)
After using a solicitor and barrister for a couple of years (and getting nowhere). I have found Jeff’s knowledge of the court processes and family law invaluable in progressing my court case for contact with my two boys.

Whenever we have been in court Jeff has always been fully prepared for the appearance and the suggestions/advice he has given me has helped me set the agenda in court. Jeff is measured in his approach and calm at all times whether in or out of court.
– Mr S. (London)
Hi Jeff, Just to say thankyou for your support at the hearing your advice was really helpful and your knowledge in legal matters was very useful.
– Ms L. (London)
FLD provided me with expert McKenzie Friend support to achieve a contact order that met all of my needs. Specifically, Jeff and Colin provided me with expert support to help me navigate the complexities of the law involved in dealing with children and families during a particularly traumatic stage of my life. Before discovering FLD I had spoken to a local solicitor who proclaimed that they dealt in family law but in a short discussion with them it was obvious that whilst they understood the legal system that needed to be followed they lacked the understanding of tactics and strategies that need to be employed to effect a successful result in my case. Of course, solicitors would also have been more expensive but more importantly I feel that they would not have approached my problems with the warmth and humanity that was offered by FLD. I also believe if I had used solicitors it would have taken much longer to achieve the outcome I was after.
 
I would recommend FLD without hesitation.
– Mr E. (Surrey)