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...

Jeff, good luck for the future. You're a credit to what you do, very skilled and kind. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.
– Mr L. (Norfolk)
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)
Jeff Botterill is a highly experienced and technically skilled McKenzie Friend with experience at all levels of court, including appeal. Jeff's knowledge of case law and court procedure is impressive. Such knowledge is essential in more complex cases, as is an ability to help construct effective, fact based and child centered arguments. In technical areas of law such as leave to remove, Jeff's name readily comes to mind as someone I can recommend with confidence. I am often asked if I can recommend a McKenzie Friend to assist a parent or grandparent in court, and Jeff Botterill is someone whose name I have no hesitation in putting forward.
– Author and Creator of The Custody Minefield
Hello Jeff, and happy new year to you. We’ve been back at court today and finally have a judgement from HHJ Bellamy who has granted me permission to appeal and has agreed to investigations in accordance with our skeleton argument.

I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for us. HHJ Bellamy commented that it was a very detailed and extremely helpful skeleton argument, so basically you’re brilliant and I owe you so much.

The last part of HHJ Bellamy’s judgement was a bit of a blur as I was crying with relief. Obviously we need to discuss what happens from here.
Many thanks again.
– Ms C. (Warwickshire)
Having been given notice that my ex-partner was applying to the Family Courts to relocate our daughter to Australia, I knew I had a serious, potentially life changing, problem on my hands but I was instantly certain I would be defending myself. Previous experience I had garnered in the courts was nothing short of depressing and had left me eminently reluctant to be legally represented. Aware that various historical incidents provided for a strong defence, I simply did not trust any solicitor to care enough to collate and disclose the wealth of information I had at my disposal in the manner which best suited my case, nor did I have the funds it would have cost me to commission them to do so.

Previous experience had also taught me that attending court is an overwhelming and daunting experience so I was conscious that I needed some form of guidance to see me through to the end. Which is when I found Family Law Decisions and in particular, Jeff Botterill, whom I knew straight away was the person I wanted by my side during the whole process. Jeff is extremely calm and reassuring with a knowledge base that is immediately evident. It also helped to learn that once upon a time he had been in my shoes and could recognise the anguish and anxiety I was feeling.

Jeff Botterill is simply a genius and I’m utterly convinced my life would not be so wonderful now if it were not for him. From the moment he agreed to assist me, I knew I was in great hands and a lot of the tension which inevitably builds up seemed to dissipate there and then. Once we got started, Jeff was great at stripping the emotion away and helping you to focus on what is important and ignoring what is irrelevant, as it is very easy to get caught up in the bitterness and unjust nature of everything. He keeps you thinking straight.
He is also a master at drawing up any court documents that will be required along the way and is exceptional at articulating every point of your defence. I was truly blown away when I saw my initial position statement – It summed up perfectly in 10 or 12 sentences what I had been frustratingly screaming about for years. A work of art.

Long story short, my ex-partner dropped her application completely after the first hearing and I was able to amend the existing contact order we had in place to provide for more time with my daughter at weekends and school holidays. The result is my relationship with my daughter is as good now as it’s ever been and I feel that I have been treated fairly by the courts. This is all thanks to Jeff.

I would recommend Jeff in an instant. He really is a godsend.
– Mr P. (London)
Thank you so much for all your help today. After the initial ruffle, as I never expected divorce matters would be given time as part of children's proceedings when also in a different court, we had a pretty fantastic outcome today. Ex was never going to agree to further contact so it was a long shot, but the fact he agreed to the DNA testing and to accept the failure of our marriage is down to his adultery is amazing stuff. Unexpected as all were, today was a very important day. A real turning point and I'm so grateful to have had your support and expert advice. It does go to show the significance. Thank you so very, very much. Hoping your journey back went ok too. Enjoy the rest of your evening,
– Ms G. (London)
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)
Hello Jeff, I have read the witness statement and took on board what you advised.
There are a couple of amendments to make, rest is perfect and to the point. You have really nailed it Jeff by making it flow so well and to the point.
I will get it to court and Cafcass by email latest tomorrow afternoon and I will also send it by post recorded delivery. I advised the other party's solicitors that I will only be ready to exchange on Wednesday, I will do that then.
Thank you so much for you immense help and for being there with me all the way.
– Ms S. (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)
Following separation it because impossible for me to secure parenting time with my young son. His mother wouldn’t allow him to spend more than two nights away with me, which made taking holidays impossible.

I met Jeff at my local FNF meeting. I was immediately struck not only by Jeff’s technical expertise but also by the calm, measured and authoritative way in which he gave others help and support.

I didn’t even bother looking for a solicitor, I engaged Jeff as my McKenzie Friend. He helped me file an application to court and draft a position statement. He subsequently helped support me in court.

In court Jeff was a rock-steady mentor, providing pragmatic and clear advice at just the right time. He negotiated with the other side and his clear familiarity with the system filled me with confidence in the waiting before the hearing. Importantly he had the confidence of the judge, who explicitly remarked on Jeff’s CV with obvious admiration.

In the hearing, following a rocky start (the judge thought my suggested residence schedule was too much for a 2 year old...and lots of allegations in mum's position statement - all ignored by Cafcass and the judge) the judge supported an amended schedule Jeff and I proposed; Jeff was then instrumental in hammering out a brief but prescriptive Shared Residence Order by consent.

The mother had applied for sole residence and proposed one Wednesday overnight a fortnight and every other weekend Friday to Sunday 6pm for contact. No holidays, other than alternate Christmas day.

I ended up with an SRO by consent, every Wednesday overnight and every other weekend Friday nursery pick up to Monday nursery drop off. I also got half of all holidays and alternate Christmas and Easter.

I am confident that with Jeff’s help, support and guidance I got the best outcome for my son; the long weekends and holidays in particular will help immensely in his relationship with me, his grandparents and his young cousin. I am sure I wouldn’t have secured such a good outcome for my son without Jeff’s calming influence, help and guidance.
– Mr M. (London)