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 thank you so much for today and all your help and advice I am over the moon with the outcome and couldn't of done it without you you made me feel at ease and confident in everything I was doing and I can not thank you enough for helping me through today. Hope you have a lovely evening and like I said thank you again.
– Mr D. (London)
Dear Jeff. Thank you for writing such a good position statement. I was really pleased at how thorough you were in highlighting all the important points that needed to be brought to the court's attention.
– Mrs K. (Manchester)
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)
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)
Hi Colin, I wanted to express my gratitude for the way you assisted myself whilst fighting for joint custody of my children, you were there to talk me through every step of the way and explained everything perfectly. You operate with a courteous and professional approach to the situation that was in hand, I can honestly say I don't think I would of got as far or such superb results without you by my side.

I can hand on heart say that I would recommend you for advice to anyone facing legal difficulties.

Cheers
– Mr H. (Derbyshire)
I contacted Jeff and explained my situation with the sudden notification of the lodging of an Application for Leave To Remove in the middle of child arrangement proceedings. He did listen and was calm which gave me comfort. As he questioned me about my case I felt Jeff knew what he was talking about. We agreed for me to send him all the files and evidence and my rough draft and he gave me a date for him to provide me a comprehensive statement in response to the LTR. This was about 2 weeks before my deadline so gave me plenty of time to check and learn more. Indeed, Jeff's statement was effective. He was there responding to questions no doubt about it! I have experienced a solicitor that I have had to chase up for updates. I am very happy with Jeff's service – You get an answer by email or on the phone definitely.
– Mr F. (London)
Mr Jeff Botterill has assisted us in a family Court matter as our McKenzie friend. We obtained Jeff's details through Families Need Fathers website and have found the advice, support and loyalty to be exemplary.

When we began in the Family Courts we were paying for legal representation in the form of various Solicitors and Barristers, some progress was made but this took some 2 years to achieve at extortionate costs to us.

We approached Jeff to enquire whether he would be able to assist us in the continuing family matter and Jeff confirmed his terms and conditions to us from the outset, we were very happy with all of the details that Jeff passed over to us and we were pleased to have his support.

Jeff has been a lifesaver. Literally. Jeff's knowledge of the process that we have been going through is comprehensive and moreover, Jeff has a unique insight into our particular circumstances and has, on many occasions, offered us his support and advice on how to deal with matters that surround the Court case. This has proved invaluable and has helped us both cope with the process on many occasions.

Jeff's integrity and honesty are outstanding, he is a man amongst men. Jeff had complete compassion for our situation. Jeff has a keen eye for details and is extremely prompt with his responses - which has helped us cope with some stressful situations.

Our only regret is that we did not know of Jeff's existence when our Court proceedings began - we are completely certain that his involvement from the start would have benefitted the matter a great deal and not to mention, save us a considerable amount of money that we had to pay for legal representation.

We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Jeff to anyone.
– Mr & Mrs H. (Cheshire)
My Father left me in Colin’s capable hands when he had to leave me to go abroad for 12 months on business.
After 18 months of sky high legal fees that I could no longer afford, I had no choice but to represent myself and take on my former husbands’ London based legal team with the help of Colin Brealey. This was a hugely daunting task but one that I immediately felt was attainable with the help of Colin. Colin gave me the confidence and support that I needed to stand in Court and fight for myself and my children.
I can only describe my marriage and my divorce as something out of a horror movie. My divorce was a hugely complex case, extending over 3 years with countless files of litigation including 2 Non Molestation Orders and an extensive Police chronology. The litigation included details of the domestic violence I endured, my former husband’s drug and alcohol addiction, children’s care issues, complex financials and extensive Police involvement.
Colin took it all in his stride and took time to read through the extensive history and made sure he was familiar with all the previous orders and applications. Colin assisted me at all times in the preparation of applications on email and over the phone, and in person at all the numerous hearings.
Colin always arrived early prior to the hearings which gave me great comfort as it allowed us time to meet and talk through everything before we went in. I was always terribly nervous and anxious but Colin was great at calming me and preparing me and focusing me for each hearing, particularly when I was facing counsel.
As well as helping me with all the litigation and hearings. Colin would always contact me to hear how any meetings went with the Police as well as when the children spent time with their appointed guardian.
Sadly, my divorce was one of threat and violence. Although I had panic buttons in my home - If I was ever in fear or panic, then I knew I could call Colin for help or advice 24/7.
Colin was, and continued to be, a huge support to me and my family throughout the ongoing proceedings. Colin has a vast knowledge and extensive experience in the legal field. As well as this, Colin has been an emotional support to me through the most painful and traumatic years of my life.
– Ms G. (Berkshire)
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)
Jeff, your experience of the English Family Justice System is second to none and you have been invaluable in helping me achieve 50/50 contact for my daughter. Thank you very much for all your help and advice.
– Mr B. (London)