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Children

The care and welfare of your children is always the primary concern in any divorce or separation.

Mostly, parents are able to agree the best arrangements, but it is quite usual for there to be conflict over particular aspects (e.g. what nights of the week visits are to be made or holidays) and, occasionally, there is major conflict over the children’s care and welfare. Even minor disagreements cause distress and can rapidly escalate.

With us, matters relating to children are recognised as requiring particular specialism and sensitivity in their handling.  

All members of our team are specialists in child access issues but, in addition, we have particular specialism in relation to child welfare, protection and jurisdiction disputes.

Here are some general guidelines, by way of introduction:

  1. It is often assumed that children will live with their mother whilst all a father can hope for is to have the children every other weekend. This assumption is wrong. The Courts now believe that the children should spend as much time as possible with each parent so far as circumstances and welfare issues allow.

  2. If you can agree arrangements for your children these do not need to be embodied in a Court Order.

  3. If you cannot agree child arrangements the Law requires that you try, firstly, to resolve issues by attending mediation (which your solicitors will arrange). If mediation doesn’t work the next step is a Court application. Before making a decision the Court will usually require a report to be prepared by a Children’s Welfare (CAFCASS) Officer, who will speak to the children alone, as well as the parents, and then prepare a report direct to the Court. In cases of serious concern over child welfare the Court may order additional, independent reports from, for example, psychiatrists and doctors.

  4. At any time either parent may approach the other to renegotiate child arrangements and, failing agreement, may seek mediation or a fresh Court Order. Child welfare orders are never set in stone.

  5. Once living and access arrangements have been agreed or ordered by the Court, neither party is allowed unilaterally to change those arrangements. It is important to remember this, since life circumstances can change: your working days and hours may change or you may have to relocate out of the area. 

Remember

  • The party wanting to change arrangements must first provide to the other party the proposed new arrangement and reasons for that arrangement for possible agreement.

  • If agreement is not forthcoming the arrangements can only be changed by a Court Order.

  • Without express agreement or Court Order, you must not unilaterally change arrangements.

We promise that we will

  1. Listen to you
  2. Communicate with you
  3. Advise you and, above all
  4. Fight for you

It may be hard now – but we will see you through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Contact us by phone or email whenever you are ready.

Both Clive and Amanda were always sympathetic to my situation and treated my case with respect which helped me retain my dignity.

Case Ref. L1826/1

Jon Beck generally had his finger on the pulse.

Case Ref. B3643/1

Amanda and Clive were professional and promptly responded to all enquiries. Allowing for delays and issues caused by the third party, service was extremely good.

Case Ref. M3173/1

Clive Barker is the most ethical breath of fresh air and is an absolute credit to his profession. He exudes a perfect balance of respect for your subjectivity and just the right amount of pragmatism to achieve what is required. His knowledge is second to none and simply put I would never go elsewhere! Kate Reid, Liz and the conveyancing team did a grand job.

Case Ref. W2848/1

Great service and great outcome from a very difficult process.

Case Ref. M3345/1

Thanks for all your help and support over the last 18 months. I really have appreciated everything.

Case Ref. B3601/1

Thanks for all the support provided throughout. I'm absolutely delighted with the results and things could have not gone any better. Thanks again. Very, very happy with how you have handled the case and for the support provided.

Case Ref. L1874/1

Jon, thank you for your excellent advice. When I need further advice I will be straight back in contact with you.

Case Ref. W2974/1

Jennifer Lee was very helpful at all times. All round good solicitors.

Case Ref. C3121/2

Jennifer Lee was very kind & considerate and dealt with all issues efficiently and effectively. Thank you for all your help & support at a difficult time in my life.

Case Ref. W2653/1

Clive Barker analyses out situation remarkably quickly which gave us real confidence as to the way forward. Thank you for the excellent service provided.

Case Ref. W2921/1

Thank you for all your hard work Jon. You have been a massive support to me and I really appreciate everything you have done to make sure I'm in the best position. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have got the same service from another solicitor!

Case Ref. B3638/2

We dealt with Gillian Hawker, Jo Elliott and Clive Barker - outstanding service. Would thoroughly recommend "Woodford Stauffer" regarding any legal advise or matter.

Case Ref. J1079/1

Jon was brilliant, very supportive and informative.

Case Ref. B3705/1

Clive Barker gave clear advice with actions taken in the timetable given.

Case Ref. S1048/2

Special mention to Jon Beck for his compassion, empathy, sense of humour and ability to communicate without being pompous! Plus knowledge etc etc... Thank you Jon!

Case Ref. G33/3

Many thanks Jon. You have been amazing. You called it from word go and made it all seem easy and well worth it. Thanks again.

Case Ref. E651/2

I am very grateful for your sensible, kind and wise support and help over the last 26 months.

Case Ref. CB/V341/1

Special mention to Jon Beck and Sandra Roos. I am 100% satisfied with the help I received. Thank you.

Case Ref. F1331/1

Hi Jon, a huge thank you to you and your team with regards to my divorce. The last 5 months have been emotional and at times very stressful, but all through it your professionalism, courtesy and willingness to answer any questions I have had has been a huge help along the way. I would have no hesitation in recommending Woodford Stauffer to anyone I know that may need it in the future.

Case Ref. JB/R1956/1

Jon Beck, because of his professional and friendly manner and his knowledge of the whole divorce process. His admin team were also very efficient and understanding. An excellent firm that helped me through a very emotional and, at times stressful 5-6 months.

Case Ref. R1956/1

Clive and Amanda, thank you, it was an experience I didn’t think I would go through but everything ran as smoothly as it could.

Case Ref. S3377/1

Darren, Sarah, Jessica and Clive - All were brilliant, professional,, swift. Would recommend to anyone. Excellent service.

Case Ref. O562/1

Clive Barker was exceptionally understanding of how I felt and that transferred back into his professional capacity.

Case Ref. T922/2

Clive Barker - very professional and knowledgable. I would consult Clive again if I needed advice in the future. Very efficient service - all staff polite and friendly

Case Ref. L1646/1

Our family law team

Clive Barker

Solicitor Consultant

Head of Family Law

Clive Barker

Direct Dial:01252 550433

Email Clive Barker

Clive is a Consultant; he qualified as a Solicitor in 1968 and has always specialised in family law.

He is the Head of our Family Law Department and has a particular interest in difficult or complex financial disputes, and property disputes between unmarried couples.

Jon Beck

Solicitor/Barrister (New Zealand, non-practising)

Family Department

Jon Beck

Direct Dial:01252 550441

Email Jon Beck

Jon qualified and practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in his native New Zealand, before moving to the UK in 2010, where he has specialised in family law.

Jon has a particular interest in divorces, the separation of unmarried couples involving difficult property disputes and cases with an international flavour. He has earned particular respect for his success handling cases in which a parent seeks to remove a child from the jurisdiction.

Jennifer Lee

Solicitor

Family Department

Jennifer Lee

Direct Dial:01252 550432

Email Jennifer Lee

Jennifer qualified as a Solicitor in 2014. She specialises in family law and, within that discipline, has particular specialism in disputes over children and domestic violence issues.