Questions answered

Your McKenzie Friend


Support and guidance to help you represent yourself in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Family Courts


Click here for free initial telephone or email advice on your divorce or children law issue

Your Questions Answered

How are you different from solicitors?

We’re up to 75% cheaper. Our team has over 25 years’ experience working in the legal profession on family law cases, but unlike a solicitors’ firm, we operate a very flexible service, getting involved as much or as little as you need us to, so you’re always in control of your costs.


What can you do to help with my case?

For a fraction of the cost of a solicitor we can assist with your family law case, by:

• Explaining documents and procedures.

• Drafting court applications, statements, forms and protocol documents.

• Attend court; providing you with moral support, guidance and advice during court hearings.

• Help achieve a satisfactory outcome and avoid a contested hearing whenever possible.


Are you insured?

Yes. We both used to work for solicitor's firms and although we have never had a claim brought against us we believe it is important to be insured.


Are you regulated?

Helen is a member of the Society of Professional McKenzie friends which is a self regulating organisation for professional McKenzie Friends. For more information go to the


My ex won't let me see my children. What can I do?

This is a very common question. Often when relationships break down, emotions take over. Not allowing a parent to see their children can be a very damaging thing, not only for the parent, but also the children.

Sometimes, mediation can help. If you meet the means test, legal aid is still available to assist with the cost of mediation and you can refer yourself.


Get in touch for your FREE consultation, we can help signpost you to mediation organisations or help explain the legal process if mediation isn’t suitable.


How do I make an application to court about my children?

There is a process that you must follow to make an application. Below is a summary of this process. You may want to do some of this yourself, or we can manage the process from beginning to end. The choice is yours.


Below is a step by step guide to making an application for a Child Arrangement Order


Step 1. Before you can make an application to court you will have to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). If Mediation cannot assist you will be given a completed form to submit with your application.


Step 2. You will need to complete the application form and set out in the form what order you would like the court to make and why you are applying for an order. This is then sent to court with 2 copies. All the forms are on this government site


Step 3. The court will screen the application if it is not completed correctly it will be returned. The Court will decide whether the case should be dealt with by the Magistrates or a Judge and allocate the case accordingly.


Step 4. A copy of the application will be sent to CAFCASS, (the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service). CAFCASS read the application, carry out checks with the police and social services, contact all parties (not the children) named in the application and ask them about what they want for the children. CAFCASS produce a short report for the court within 17 working days


Step 5. The court will list the matter for a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA) 5-6 weeks after your application was issued. You will be sent notice of the hearing. Copies of your application and notice of the hearing will be sent to the other party in the case (the Respondent) by the Court.


Step 6. When you attend the first hearing, a duty CAFCASS officer will be present and will have produced a short report detailing what information they have obtained and any recommendations they are making.


Step 7a. If the CAFCASS officer has not identified any safety concerns, they will try to help you to reach an agreement. An order can be made at this stage if it is felt that it is necessary and in the best interests of the child. If agreement cannot be reached, the Court could order either party to attend a MIAM. or

Step 7b. If there are allegations of child abuse or domestic violence, which, if proved could impact on the arrangements for the child then the matter may be listed for a Finding of Fact hearing and you will be ordered to file statements setting out your case. or

Step 7c. If CAFCASS identify safety concerns then they will need to investigate this further and the matter will be adjourned for a section 7 report.


Step 8. Depending upon the outcome of step 7, there may be a dispute resolution appointment to see if agreement can be reached. A final order may be made at this stage, or the matter will be listed for a Final welfare hearing before a final order can be made.


The emphasis is for parties to try to reach agreement if possible. Do call us if you want to talk through the process. .


For more information on CAFCASS go to


How long will it take to get a court order?

Unfortunately, there is no fixed time period. Each case is different and there is no standard length of time. Court proceedings can be finalised at the first hearing or adjourned several times.


Most proceedings finish within six months but there are cases that carry on for longer, sometimes even years. What you can be sure of is that we will explain the process as you go along, offering support, guidance and moral support.


I have a court order but my ex still won't let me see my children. What can I do?

Unfortunately, this sometimes happens and we can help support you to make an application to the court for the order to be enforced.


What orders can the court make about children?

The court’s starting point is the best interest of the child. The court can make orders about whom the children live with, how often they see the parent they don't live with, and specific issues about a child's upbringing.

You can find out more about specific orders by clicking here


How do I do my own divorce?

Divorce is a paper application and only in rare circumstance would you have to attend court. You can get application forms from your local court or their website.

We offer a FREE initial consultation, so we can discuss your individual circumstances with you.


We can help you complete the forms, and guide you through the divorce process as much or as little as you need.


Is your service confidential?

Absolutely. This is very important to us. Any personal information provided by you is strictly confidential and we don’t keep personal data on file unless it is necessary to do so for the conduct of your case. . We would only disclose any information we hold with your consent, if the Court ordered it, or there was a risk of harm to a child.


Do you operate outside Sheffield?

Yes, but only in courts close to Sheffield (mainly Doncaster, Barnsley and Wakefield). We do charge for travelling to a court outside Sheffield .



Tel: 07903590117 & 07903590125

Directors: Carol Marsh and Helen Maltby

Your Mckenzie Friend Ltd Company Registration No: 08692272

Registered office: The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield S1 4FW

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