How we help
Join us on a typical journey through our process from your free diagnostic interview with us, to achieving the right arrangements you and your children deserve.
“Jan and co are very good. Highly recommended.”
JAMES C (Google review)
First diagnostic interview
Every family is unique and so are its problems.
When you contact us we will arrange a free first diagnostic interview with one of our solicitors so that we can identify your problems and how best we can help.
We will talk to you about the potential costs and any steps you may be able to take on your own.
If possible, we will usually send you a short questionnaire before that interview so that we have a summary of the issues and what you hope to achieve.
Child contact disputes are unlike most other forms of court proceedings, in that each case is unique and all too often new issues arise during the process.
If the only issue to be resolved is how contact should work, then you should expect limited involvement on our part. If we are asked to get involved in all the small details of day-to-day contact, usually if your ex is being unreasonable or unrealistic, then our involvement would increase.
In cases where Practice Direction 12J applies, our costs can run into thousands of pounds to work toward the best outcome for you. Bear in mind, our representation can genuinely make all the difference toward keeping a relationship with your children, and we will cost each stage with you.
Jan Stanton’s hourly charging rate is £290.00 + VAT per hour. Our more junior solicitors have proportionately lower charging rates. Because this is our specialisation, in our experience our total costs tend to be lower than other solicitors in the same proceedings.
In more detail
The first appointment
When proceedings are issued, the first appointment (legally the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment or FHDRA) is where the court decides the issues it will need to look at in the case and what arrangements should be made for the children until further decisions can be made.
The starting point for the court in any cases about children is Section 1 of the Children Act 1989. It says that the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration and it must have regard to the welfare checklist which says, Among the things the court must consider are…
Practice Direction 12J
There are particular rules the court has to follow in cases concerning children when there has been domestic violence. These are set out in Practice Direction 12J. You may find it helpful to read it in full. You can find a copy here:
Practice Direction 12J
Usually where there is disputed evidence about whether domestic abuse has taken place, the court directs that there should be a fact-finding hearing. The decisions made at this hearing can impact on all your future arrangements for your children in the short and the long term.
The role of Cafcass
Cafcass is an independent organisation looking after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. Cafcass works with children and their families and advises the court on what it considers to be in the children’s best interests. Its workers are experienced qualified Social Workers with no bias.
Dispute Resolution Appointment
The court must list a Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA) to follow the preparation of a Section 7 or other expert report if this is considered likely to be helpful in the interests of the child.
At the DRA, the court will…
The court will, where there is a substantial dispute between the parents, list the matter for a final hearing, which can be some four to six months ahead or much later, depending on the availability of court hearing dates. This would typically be listed for one day or longer, depending on the issues involved.
Defending a non-molestation application
Where there are serious allegations of domestic abuse, a court can make a non-molestation order without notice to the alleged abuser. This order has serious implications if you are the recipient of the order and you have children you want to see. We can help you defend this.
We look forward to hearing from you
To arrange your free first diagnostic interview please do get in touch.