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...

Without Jeff would I be seeing my daughter?
Probably not.

I see my daughter now regularly, go on holidays with her, she plays with her baby sister, sees her grandparents and I am seeing her grow up.

Jeff tells you it as it and not just what you want to hear, unlike so many solicitors I encountered.

He has many helpful tips on how to deal with the whole situation and provides thorough support

I would highly recommend using his services.
– Mr B. (Birmingham)
Hi Jeff, I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your professionalism and support leading up to and at the final hearing on Wednesday. It was much appreciated.
– Mr P. (London)
Hi Jeff,

On behalf of myself and my family We would like to thank you for all of your assistance yesterday. Your guidance throughout, and the presentation of the documents was first class. Restoring contact with ******* was the best Xmas present we could have hoped for.

We had a get together last night but at the weekend we can have an even better one with our *******.

Thanks again.
– Mr H. (Manchester)
I first came in to contact with Colin Brealey, through McKenzie Friends, having not seen my daughter for over 9 months and having been to the family court 3 times. At this stage a section 7 report was being completed by Cafcass.

Colin made himself readily available at the end of the phone or by email and always gave good, practical advice. It was clear that his knowledge of family law was vast. He attended the next court hearing with me, arrived early and, again, gave good, clear and practical advice on how we should proceed. In addition to the advice on how to proceed at the hearing, he also advised me on how to contact my daughter’s GP and nursery to ask for details of matters relating to her and gave me copies of template letters for this purpose.

Thanks to Colin’s vast knowledge of family law and his professional manner, he was able to negotiate with my ex-partner’s solicitor resulting in a final order which I was very happy with indeed. Colin continues to be available to me for advice by email or phone and I would not hesitate to contact him in the future if I had any further problems regarding contact with my daughter. I would also highly recommend Colin to anyone experiencing problems with regard to contact with their child or children.
– Mr K. (Suffolk)
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)
I cannot thank you enough for all the help, support and advice Colin Brealey, and his contacts, have given during the fight to retain the residency of my children.
I was put in contact with Colin by Families need Fathers as a McKenzie friend, quite late in my case, but he soon helped create a very professional and powerful statement. He was very honest from the start and made it quite clear men don't win these cases very often.
Well we won, and we will all never be able to thank him enough for all he did. He has become quite a popular character round here, and some one who will always be a friend.
From one very happy Dad.
– Mr B. (Staffordshire)
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)
I am writing this to express my sincere delight, happiness and any other fantastic word you could add of the assistance provided by Mr Colin Brealey regarding my family matters in the county court.
 
I had pre Colin paid out over £10,000 in solicitor fees and got no where fast, i contacted Colin after he was recommended by a friend in a similar situation. It was at very late notice but Colin assured me he would assist with all my legal paper work and proposals regarding my two children. Colin contacted me at a suitable time for both of us but then stayed up via phone contact till 02:00AM!!!!!
 
UNBELIEVABLE but yes he did, he managed to complete all my necessary paper work for the court on such late notice due to my late contact but he stayed awake completing this as the next day was the court trial. Colin also attended court in person as my McKenzie friend and assisted me in what i needed to do to get the desired result.
 
I was awarded the children more favourably than my ex partner and i feel, no i know it was down to Colin’s help, i will be ever in his debt as my children are my world and having them taken away by a court and their mother was the single most worst thing i have ever had to experience in my life.
– Mr G. (Leicestershire)
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)
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