Children

children_and_parents.jpg

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...

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)
I spent approximately 18 months working with Colin as a McKenzie friend.
Before working with Colin I had appointed a solicitor and attended family court on two occasions.  Each of these hearings was confusing and frustrating due to the fact that all communication was done between the solicitors involved. Decisions were made by solicitors based on very little understanding of the facts. The process was aimed more at fighting the other party than it was at achieving anything positive by way of contact with my daughter.
 
I contacted Colin in an attempt to remove the adversarial approach from my case and to help me understand a legal situation that was out of control.
From my initial meeting with Colin it was obvious that he knew more about Family Law than any solicitor I had talked with and that he had a constructive approach to arriving at a workable solution.
Colin explained to me in detail how my case was likely to unfold. He outlined what contact was likely to be agreed and helped me to set workable expectations. At each stage of the court process Colin removed all the unnecessary legal details and simplified what had previously been a confused legal battle in to something that was simple to understand and much less stressful to manage. We worked together, making it possible to clarify things for the court, welfare officers and the other party.
Colin focused on what needed to be done to increase contact with my daughter, he was always available to address any concerns or issues that I had and to provide guidance with any court paperwork.
At each hearing Colin sought to find common ground between both parties rather than continuing the arguments that my previous solicitor had perpetuated. This achieved an increase in contact where previously no progress had been made for almost a year.
The depth of practical experience that Colin has, and his positive, constructive approach helped me to arrive at a situation where the other party agreed to much more contact than I would have achieved if I had continued with a solicitor. At the same time Colin kept me focused on my daughter rather than on the other party.
Colin makes Family Law work for families.
– Mr H. (Leicestershire)
Jeff Botterill was my McKenzie friend for a Leave to Remove from the Jurisdiction hearing which I was opposing. I was very impressed at the quality of service Jeff provided. He helped prepare a Position Statement to present to my ex-wife's solicitor for negotiation in advance of the final hearing. He was very well prepared for the 2 court appearances (a further directions and a final hearing) and provided case history which won me my request for a Shared Residence Order, which on the advice of her legal team, had been turned down by my ex-wife when presented in the position statement. I think her legal team was rather surprised by the knowledge and case notes that Jeff had provided me in court.

His guidance and support throughout the court hearings was excellent. He put me at ease and gave me the confidence to represent myself. His knowledge of the law and the case history surrounding leave to remove exceeded any that I had heard from the two solicitors that I had used. He is also passionate about the need for both parents in the lives of their children. I would highly recommend Jeff to anyone else looking for a McKenzie friend.
– Mr W. (London)
Colin has been of great support over recent months, offering excellent advice and helping me to stay focussed. His assistance at court was exemplary (certainly gave the opposition many things to think about), kept the objectives on track, both the District Judge and oppositions barrister commended him for his contribution. Oh and ultimately with his help all my objectives were met and indeed surpassed!
– Mr M. (Warwickshire)
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)
The service Jeff provided me in the very difficult situation, was second to none. I may have been paying for a service but I feel indebted to Jeff. – A very positive result for both of my kids.
– Mr P. (Greater Manchester)
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)
Hi Colin, just a quick line to wish you a merry Christmas and happy new year. I would also like to thank you for your help with my case for my child arrangements order for my children.
I was completely out of my depth in this case with my ex partner and her solicitor and was basically getting wiped the floor with. That's when I decided to contact families need fathers who put me on to you. After speaking with you, you came to Lincolnshire and took charge of my case for me, liaised with my ex partners solicitor and after two hearings got the outcome we wanted.

I can't thank you enough for your help and professionalism, it's been 6 months now and everything's going well, the children are happy and we are having a great time together making memories.

All the best.
– Mr B. (Lincolnshire)
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)
Hello Jeff, and Happy New Year to you.

We’ve been back at court today and finally have a judgement from His Honour Judge 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.
– Ms C. (West Midlands)