School Place Appeals

Many parents waited last month for news of primary and secondary school places for their children.  The statistics suggest most children in Oxfordshire were granted their first or second place.  For some, this was not the case and places were provided that were not suitable for a number of reasons. 

This does not have to be the end of the process.  If you have made an application for your child to start school, change school or commence secondary education, and they have not been offered a place at the school you want, it is possible to appeal the decision. The appeal process involves completing a written application, with evidence where relevant.

Your appeal may be successful if:

·         The admission criteria do not comply with the school admissions appeal code

·         The admission arrangements haven’t been properly followed

·         The decision to refuse your child a place wasn’t reasonable

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Your grounds for appeal will depend on which type of school place your child has applied for. For example, infant school class sizes are limited to 30 children, so your application can be turned down if classes are already at their limit. The appeal is made in writing and then a hearing date is set.

Your appeal is heard by an independent tribunal. First, the admission authority (the school or council) will give their evidence, explaining why a place was not given to your child. You will then have your chance to explain why you believe your child should have been given a place at the school requested.

The tribunal will check whether the specific school admissions criteria complies with the legal school admissions code. If the criteria were not properly followed or are illegal, your appeal will be upheld. If the criteria were legally appropriate and properly followed, the tribunal will be asked to decide if the reasons for why your child should be admitted outweigh the school’s reasons for rejecting your application.

It is important that you comply with the strict appeal process and timetable. Our lawyers can assist with understanding the grounds for appeal, and advising on the legality of the admission code or place allocation. We will help you to ensure your best possible case is presented to the tribunal on time.

If you have any queries about school appeals, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Claire

Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

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Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182

claire.colbert@freeths.co.uk

Antenatal provision and support from Birth Baby Balance

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Becoming pregnant can be exciting and daunting in equal measures. You will be looking for answers to the many questions you have. There is a wealth of information to call on and everyone will have an opinion on how to have a successful pregnancy and birth - with some comments not always welcome!

Here at Birth Baby Balance, we provide a range of support and services to help you on the journey. One of our most common, and unofficial, services is that of 'filter'- helping you to sort through all the information, to find the best answer or solution for you and for your baby.  This type of 'added bonus' is all part and parcel of what you can expect from Birth Baby Balance and goes towards setting us apart from other antenatal service and support providers in the area.

Birth Baby Balance in the first instance provides antenatal courses. They are unique in the county and a cut above other antenatal education providers for many reasons.

Sarah runs the courses. She is a birth and postnatal doula and has attended over 60 births in Oxfordshire, spanning the range of birth options. Her experience at births is immense.

Sarah's expertise and local knowledge is key to her teaching pregnant women - she is the only local antenatal teacher (to our knowledge) who is also a birth doula and knows the local hospital and maternity units inside out.

She is a User Representative on (and founding member of) the Maternity Voices Partnership, feeding back women's experiences of their maternity care to regular meetings at the John Radcliffe hospital. This role also means she is kept up to date on changing policies and procedures relating to labour and birth in the county.

Sarah taught antenatal courses for the NCT for 10 years which helped her to understand what couples want from their antenatal classes. As an independent course provider she has the freedom to create courses that meet those needs. A recent class attendee commented at the end of the course, “Thank you for a fantastic and really comprehensive course! We’re currently attending NCT classes too, and I feel that BBB covers the important stuff in a lot more depth”.

On a Birth Baby Balance antenatal course, above and beyond the 'standard' education, you get:

both a men-only and women-only class within the course, both of which are incredibly valuable to their respective groups, a free audio download or CD of a wide selection of Visualisations for Labour for each attendee 

AND,

a postnatal class within the course package, run by Kirsten

This is more than just a social reunion. It gives new mums (and dads, if they would like to attend) a chance to make sense of the new world they have arrived in with their new baby.  It is an opportunity to share their joys and worries with others in the same boat, whilst gaining reassurance that their baby's behaviours are normal. Alongside this informal chat, the new parents are given information about what is normal with baby and what to expect in those early days.

The Birth Baby Balance 'added bonus':

You can add to this single postnatal session by signing up to the rest of the Newborn Mothers course, in total a 3 week course, including a session on common feeding and sleeping challenges and a Baby and Infant first aid session, facilitated by a trained paramedic.

There are a lot of options out there for antenatal education, and it is important you find the right course to suit you.

Please read: Reasons to attend good antenatal courses (blog), to think about what matters to you.

ALREADY TAKING AN ANTENATAL COURSE?

Don't despair! You can still get some of the Birth Baby Balance care and support by attending Sarah's weekly Bumps Balls and Breathing classes.

As well as learning skills to help you through your labour, these sessions are an opportunity to increase your network of pregnant friends, and ask Sarah questions relating to your pregnancy and labour and more...!

Alternative routes to parenthood- the legal issues

If you are thinking about trying to become a parent with the help of a sperm or egg donor, fertility treatment or surrogacy, you are far from alone. Research suggests that around one in ten births in the UK are the result of donor conception or fertility treatment, and that the number of babies born to surrogates may have doubled over the last few years. These ‘alternative’ routes to parenthood have helped countless people to have children when they might not have been able to otherwise. However, they can also create enormous emotional strain, and the sometimes complex legal implications do not help. So, what do prospective parents need to know about the law?

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I am having a baby with the help of a donor. How do I ensure that I am my child’s legal parent?

 Legal parenthood determines major issues like a child’s nationality, inheritance rights and who is responsible for the child financially. A child can only have a maximum of two legal parents. The child’s birth mother will always automatically be the first legal parent, even if she became pregnant using a donated egg. The spouse or civil partner of the child’s birth mother will be the second legal parent, as long as he or she gave consent to the treatment that led to her pregnancy.

If the birth mother is not married, her partner (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) will need to go through a paperwork process before the treatment to ensure that they are acknowledged as the second legal parent. There has been a string of recent cases of clinics making mistakes with this paperwork, resulting in parents having to go to court to secure their legal parenthood, so it is vital to ensure that you are signing the right documents and that they have been completed correctly.

What is ‘parental responsibility’ and who has it?

Parental responsibility is separate from legal parenthood. It is essentially the right to be involved in decisions about the child’s upbringing and fundamental issues like healthcare and education.

As with legal parenthood, the birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility. If she is married at the time of the child’s birth, her spouse will have parental responsibility. If she is in a civil partnership at the time of the child’s conception, her civil partner will have parental responsibility.

If the birth mother is not married or in a civil partnership, her partner will have to acquire parental responsibility. In an opposite-sex relationship, her partner can acquire parental responsibility simply by being named as the child’s father on the birth certificate. Otherwise, the birth mother and her partner will need to sign a ‘parental responsibility agreement’ and have it approved by a judge.          

I am having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement. How do I secure legal parenthood and parental responsibility?

Because the law says that the birth mother is automatically the child’s legal parent, you will need to obtain a court order, known as a ‘parental order’, transferring the child’s legal parenthood from the surrogate (and her spouse, if she has one) to you as the intended parents. Unless and until you obtain a parental order, the surrogate will remain the child’s legal parent, so it is crucial to get the application right and specialist legal advice is essential. The requirements for being granted a parental order are:

·         You must be a couple. Single parents cannot obtain parental orders. The courts have declared that the law as it stands infringes human rights and the government will have to change it in due course;

·         The surrogate must not have been paid to act as surrogate (beyond reimbursement of ‘reasonable expenses’);

·         The surrogate (and her spouse or civil partner) must consent to legal parenthood being transferred to you;

·         At least one of you must be the biological parent of the child. In other words, you cannot obtain a parental order if the egg and sperm used in the conception of the child carried by the surrogate were both donated;

·         You must apply to a court for a parental order within six months of the child’s birth. 

The parental order will give you parental responsibility as well as legal parenthood.

Because it is illegal to pay a surrogate in the UK, many British couples enter into surrogacy arrangements abroad, in countries where commercial surrogacy is available. This can create legal issues around securing your baby’s nationality and immigration status when you return to the UK. Detailed legal advice on this is critical.

If you need advice about any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

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Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182

claire.colbert@freeths.co.uk

3 common challenges in the Early Postnatal Period

The first 3 months (or 4th Trimester) with baby can be a roller coaster ride of experiences and emotions. You are learning to be a parent and baby is learning what the world outside the womb is all about.  It is all new and this can lead to numerable challenges. The good news is these challenges are normal and it can be very reassuring to know, you're not the only one experiencing them.

3 Common Challenges in the Early Postnatal Period

1. Sleep deprivation

This could be considered the biggest challenge as it affects almost every aspect of your being: physically, physiologically, emotionally, mentally. You may come across well-meaning pithy advice such as 'sleep when the baby sleeps'. Of course getting as much sleep as you can through out the rest of the day is going to counter-act the lack you're getting through the night, however, for many and varied reasons, this is not always an option.

So the next biggest thing to help with sleep deprivation is to review your expectations around your baby's sleep.

Normal sleep for a baby within the first 3 months can be small naps, or long stretches and all at random times through out the day and night.  Many sleep issues for parents in the first few weeks and months are created from the myths associated with how a baby 'should' sleep.

2. Trying to get back to 'normal' 

It is very natural to want to anchor yourself to something familiar when everything at this time may seem chaotic and overwhelming. This can cause a struggle however as a new baby has no 'normal'. It's bit like fitting a round peg into a square hole. Many parents believe they can change their peg (baby) to fit the hole (life).  This may be more likely after the first 3 months but before then, a better strategy is to take some time to adjust to a 'new normal' and create a shape of your life that now has a baby in it.

Cocooning, or enjoying a 'babymoon' as much as you are able in those first 3 months is of great benefit- to both you and baby.  This period is a time of rest, recovery and of building a relationship. No, you don't have to get out of the house (unless you want to), you don't have to see visitors (unless you want to AND make sure they contribute to the household chores while they are there!) and you don't even have to get up and get dressed, if you don't want to.

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You are getting used to being a new parent as well as recovering from trauma and your baby is learning about the world- they are learning to breathe! There is no pressure needed to do anything other than be. Be with baby. Enjoy.

3. Not knowing what is 'right'

Being a new parent is a huge responsibility and new parents are naturally driven to do what is 'right' with their baby. Babies don't come with an instruction manual and there are many books or apps out there suggesting they are as close to one as can be, written by people with 'expert' status, claiming they have the answers.

The truth is... you are the expert in your baby.

Unfortunately, the sleep deprivation and parenting adjustment of the third trimester doesn't leave much room for feeling like an expert. You're too busy feeling tired, overwhelmed, and sweaty.

But you are. And along with all else you are feeling, dig deep and you will feel what is right. It is important to understand what is 'normal' baby behaviour as it will be clearer then to know what to do with your baby.

*Normal babies and other stuff is covered in the Newborn Mothers course

If you're not sure about anything, there is no harm in asking.  Be interested in what others around you with babies are experiencing, listen to what opinions others are sharing, compare this to what you know to be normal and THEN decide from there, what feels right for you and your baby.

 

Guest blog: Is there any point in getting married?

As a family lawyer I often have conversations with people about marriage.  Often people will say that they can see no point in getting married as having children is a greater commitment.

I always find these conversations very difficult, as as a parent myself I agree that having children can often feel a much greater commitment than a civil or religious ceremony that has taken place.

However, the law does not support this social or moral thinking.  In fact it does the opposite.  The rights that you have as the parent of a child together rather than as a spouse are significantly different.  For married couples there are rights to sharing of assets on separation, sharing of pension, the ability to seek and agree maintenance both for children and for a spouse, the right to claim pension shares and make claims on the estate of the other party on their death.

As a co-habitee, e.g. somebody that lives with another party (with or without children), these claims do not exist by right.  The only claims that are available for property are based upon contributions that have been made against the legal title and trust law.  There is no right due to the relationship for any financial claim although in some situations, through litigation, it may be possible to make financial claims in certain circumstances.

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Often people presume that there are financial rights by virtue of the fact the relationship is a long one with children.  I am often told that people are “common law husband and wife”.  Unfortunately there is no such legal definition and regardless of the length of the relationship and how many children you have this does not spark any automatic entitlement to sharing of assets or income.  It is possible to negotiate however the only claims that can be made if there are not children are for joint assets (or a possible claim for a property held in one person’s name if certain evidential points are proven).  If there are children there is a right to seek child maintenance (but not any spousal maintenance) and a lump sum under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for capital that the child may need.

This often feels very unfair, particularly when in this modern day and age marriage is less popular and people enter into long term relationships presuming they are going to be treated the same as a married couple.  It is common for me to hear that a mother has decided to become the full-time carer of her child whilst the father works, contributes to his pension and the property is held in his name due to his larger mortgage capacity.  However, on separation this can have very damaging consequences on the ability for both parents to have a similar standard of living following a separation.

There are ways to deal with property that is not owned in joint names if you are not married, including cohabitation agreements and declarations of trust.

It is also very important that you ensure your Will is up to date and that the nominations under pensions and life insurance are correct and reviewed regularly to make sure that claims on the death of the other are going to the intended.

If you are concerned about the impact this issue has on you or your family please do not hesitate to contact me.

Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

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Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182

claire.colbert@freeths.co.uk

The Pressure of Christmas

Christmas Pressures

Christmas is meant to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, but for many Christmas brings with it a time of dread for one reason or another.  Sometimes this can involve financial difficulties ,the stresses of family visiting and staying and the pressures of arranging a “perfect” Christmas. 

There can be extra difficulties for families who are blended families.  By this I mean families who include stepchildren, half siblings, step parents and families that may be separated for one reason or another.  This can be a difficult time for the family and conflicts can arise when the additional pressure of Christmas is added to a strained environment or already challenging relationships. 

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A number of experts have written about ways to try to deal with these additional difficulties.  It is helpful to reiterate their advice here, to remind us of ways to try to ensure the Christmas period is an enjoyable break for the whole family, wherever possible. 

  • Despite time pressures and the anxieties you may feel, keep communications with family members friendly and polite.  Ensure the tone of communication is always respectful.
  • Save arguments for calmer times.  Arguments when family are visiting, when stress levels are high and there is a great deal of pressure on us can mean things are said in the heat of the moment, and often said in front of children. This can be upsetting and worrying for children
  • Try not to compare your “ Christmas” with that of a separated ex, or step parent. Even comparing to the lives of friends or family can be upsetting.  It is always easier to see the positives in someone else’s life than our own, and focus on the things we think we are doing wrong or badly rather than the brilliant things we are managing fantastically.
  • Make gifts about thoughtfulness and time rather than cost.  Entering into any kind of competition for  purchasing of presents is not good for children or our relationships, and can be very expensive!  
  • Bear in mind that children may not feel as we always do.  The pressures of Christmas can sometimes mean that we push our emotions onto our children.  For example, they may be very excited about spending time with half siblings, step parents or their other parent. Allowing them to be excited and encourage that excitement can only be of benefit to them.
  • Remember children can benefit in different ways from all of the relationships they have. It isn’t a competition, and how they see you deal with conflicts will help them learn these valuable life skills.
  • Be flexible.  Christmas puts demands on all of us that make us less likely to be able to be flexible and therefore where we can, it is best we are. The recent weather issues and travel disruption is a key example of this.
  • Conserve your energy and pick your battles wisely. Accept what is possible to change, and what we have to change-  find a way to work with it or work around!
  • Christmas can be a very magical time for children and we as parents are custodians of the ability to make this period as enjoyable as possible for them (and for us). Make the holiday period stress free for the children.  Try not to put them in the middle of any disputes. Stay child focussed.  This is easy to say but hard to put in practice in amongst the demand Christmas puts upon us. 

 I hope you and your children have an enjoyable Christmas together and happy healthy 2018.

Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

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Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182

claire.colbert@freeths.co.uk

What does a doula do?

I’m a doula. “A what?” I hear you ask, “A jeweller?”. This is often the response I get when I meet someone new and they ask me what I do. So, what is a doula, and what does a doula do?

Put simply, a doula is a woman who has experienced childbirth, who supports another woman (and her partner) through the experience of pregnancy, birth and the early days of new parenthood. Her aim is to “mother the mother”, so the mother can focus on caring for her baby. Some doulas work with women at the time of birth, whilst others choose to support women once their babies are here. Between myself and my colleagues Kirsten and Charlotte, we cover the whole spectrum, supporting women from the time in their pregnancy that they book us until they feel they no longer need us, whether that is days, weeks or months after their baby is born. 

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A doula is not usually medically trained, and it is not her responsibility to make clinical decisions - that is the midwife’s job. The doula is there to provide emotional and physical support and reassurance, primarily to the woman, but frequently to the partner as well! In an ideal world, doulas would not be necessary, as women would have a chance to get to know their midwife throughout their pregnancy, have the same midwife care for them through their labour and birth, and support them for the first few weeks at home with a new baby (think “Call the Midwife!”), but sadly those days are long gone for most women. So the doula steps in to provide that continuity of care, which we know makes a huge difference to women’s experiences of labour, birth and early mothering. If a woman has a long labour, she may see several midwives, and have to form a relationship with each one, but her doula never leaves her side, and is someone she already knows and trusts and can rely on. I was recently at a birth from 6.30am - 1.00am the next day, and in that time the labouring woman was cared for by six midwives, four doctors and two anaesthetists, and needless-to-say, felt a bit disjointed! 

Once mum and baby are home, a postnatal doula provides support, company, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and another pair of hands around the house. She doesn’t offer advice, but helps mum to discover for herself how to respond to her baby, enabling and empowering the new mum to feel confident in her mothering skills. She may do practical things like cooking, laundry, shopping, collecting other children from nursery etc, or just provide an opportunity for mum to offload her worries, frustrations, delights and joys in her new baby. Or she may hold the baby to enable mum to go and have a much needed nap, safe in the knowledge that someone else will respond to the baby if necessary. 

Having a doula at the birth cannot guarantee that all will go smoothly (nothing can guarantee that, or we’d all be doing it!), but research into having a doula present has shown that women are 50% less likely to need a Caesarean, 40% less likely to require forceps, less likely to use epidural anaesthesia, more likely to breastfeed, and their labour is likely to be an average of 2 hours shorter than for a woman without a doula present. 

Being a doula is an incredibly humbling, rewarding and special job. Being invited into someone’s life and home at such an intimate and life-changing time is an honour, and being actively chosen to be at someone’s birth is incredibly touching.

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Guest blog: 10 top tips to keep relationships happy

Many of us are experiencing the return to routine as our children return to school, playgroup and nursery following the summer holiday break. After what is often a very enjoyable summer, the routine can put us back into bad habits for family life.

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As a family lawyer, working with couples both dealing with breakdowns of the relationship and protecting relationships, I have seen a number of situations where relationships deteriorate over what appears to have been simple issues that have become unresolvable. Over this period of time, I have learnt a lot about why relationships fail and often see the practical consequences of not taking care of your relationship.

I thought now would be a good to share with you what I think is the top 10 tips for maintaining a good relationship with your partner.

1.         Date Night

Although life is always busy, particularly when we have young children, making time together is a priority. Ensuring this is precious time where chores, tasks and admin are put to one side and time is spent talking to each other is treated as a priority. Although this can often be hard to find time to do, the value of this can be tremendous to maintaining communication particularly at stressful or busy times in your life.

2.         Argue

I regularly see couples who have faced issues in their relationship based on financial difficulties, personal difficulties or parenting difficulties. In all of these situations the ability to communicate and talk those issues through massively improves the ability couples have to resolve conflict which maintains a good healthy relationship between them and shows good communication styles and skills for their children.

3.         The Perfect Marriage

Try to remember there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. We all strive to have the best possible relationship we can, but often what we see on social media, in the general press and what is portrayed by those we meet is not as it appears and as the old age saying “what goes on behind closed doors” refers to is often that what appears perfect really is not what we would define as perfect. In an age of social media, it is often difficult not to compare our own relationship and life with those of others, which have been filtered to perfection. Keep in mind what you want from your relationship as your focus, rather than what others want from theirs.

4.         Secrets and lies

Don’t keep secrets and don’t lie. Often the breakdown of a relationship can be traced back to a secret or a lie which unravels and can lead to a complete breakdown of trust. It is often difficult to undo this and rebuild that trust.

5.         Think back

Try to remember what it is about your partner that made you fall in love with him or her. Often when the madness of family life takes over, remembering this helps us to remember why we continue to do the things we do and focus on what it is important in life.

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6.         Turn off your mobile!

Mobile phones in this day and age are often a cause of marital dispute particularly when we find ourselves attached to our phones for work, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all social medial demands. Making sure that we have “phone free” time whilst together and appreciating our spouse more than our phone is important.

7.         Laughter

Laughter is a key part of any positive relationship. Find it as often as you can.

8.         Don’t put your marriage on hold

 There can be a tendency to look to the next goal or milestone before making time to spend as a couple but much can happen to delay that putting the relationship on hold repeatedly. Often this means that there is resentment and in these situations if the time never comes, the marriage or relationship is not given a chance to prosper.

9.         Be patient

It is often easy to express frustration and criticism of those that we are closest to. Try to encourage and be patient with your other half, to nurture the relationship rather than criticise it. The support from your spouse is often the things that helps us through the most difficult times.

10.      Say sorry

 We encourage our children to always say sorry but often this is the thing that we forget. It is not an easy thing to say and saying it has great value to those we love.

There is no right or wrong way to conduct a relationship but I genuinely believe these tips are ones that have shone through in my years as a family lawyer as reasons why relationships fail and how the situation can be very difficult if as much care were taken with our relationship as it is with many other parts of our lives.

Have a great week,

Claire

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Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182

claire.colbert@freeths.co.uk

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Hello from Kirsten

Hi,

I’m Kirsten, I have been a part of Birth Baby Balance for over a year now and I wanted to say hi, introduce myself and let you know a little bit more about what I offer as part of Birth Baby Balance.  Take a look at the video to find out more, or there is a brief transcript of the video below.

My passion is postnatal health and well-being, so primarily I am here to support new parents in those early days of parenting. Some of you may already have attended my Newborn Mothers session as part of the postnatal course for new parents, or as part of Sarah’s antenatal course.

I have also trained as a postnatal doula and am looking forward to supporting more new parents in this role, helping in your home in the early days and weeks with baby.

My support for parents extends beyond those early days and as a parenting consultant, I run a Calm Parenting course for later in the parenting journey, when there are increased challenges with toddlers or perhaps the introduction of a sibling is causing conflict and frustration.

I also offer sleep support when your little one has some sleep challenges and isn't getting the sleep they need, and nor are you!

I’ll be writing about all aspects of parenting on the website blog and sharing these and other articles of interest on the FB page. So make sure you look out for them!

I look forward to meeting and working with you soon!

K x

Reasons to attend good antenatal classes

Reasons to attend good antenatal classes

With the rise in the number of apps, websites, on-line forums, You Tube videos, TV shows, books and magazines all specialising in childbirth, is it still really necessary to attend traditional antenatal classes? You know, where you sign up for a 6 or 8 week course of evening classes, or a couple of weekend sessions, with a group of other pregnant couples due around the same time as you? Surely you can get all the information you need from the above mentioned sources?

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The three trimesters of parenthood

The three trimesters of parenthood

Working with pregnant women and new mums, I am often drawn into discussions on the concerns about lack of sleep and lack of quality evening time with your partner in the first few months post birth. The tiredness that blights your life. How long will it go on? When will we be able to eat supper again together? When will we have a full night’s sleep again? What’s normal? Etc, etc.

Read More

Oxford Baby Show

Oxford Baby Show

Next month we're doing our first big baby and toddler show! Its on at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, on Sunday 28th February, from 10 - 4. It will be so exciting to meet and chat to so many pregnant and new mums from across the county - you know me, its hard to stop me talking once I get started on birth and babies! I'm hoping we might also see some familiar faces in the crowd - if you're coming, do pop along to our stand and say hi! We love to see how "our" babies are growing, even if its just a photo on your phone. 

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New Year, New Adventure!

New Year, New Adventure!

Here at Birth Baby Balance, I have a new venture which I am very excited to be announcing. From April of this year, I am going to be facilitating my own Antenatal Courses in both Witney and Chipping Norton.

And because we all know how tricky it can be when you're pregnant to really comprehend the impact that having a new baby will have on your life, and how you will feel emotionally once the baby is here, each course has an additional, optional session to attend after the birth. This can be booked at the same time as the main course, or later, once the baby has arrived.

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Four babies this year!

Four babies this year!

I feel like I have been pregnant throughout this year - with quads! And each baby has made its appearance into the world on a different date, when the time was right (remember the saying "Mama knows how, baby knows when"?!). The first arrival was my Visualisations for Labour CD - a very long time in the making, but finally ready in the Spring, and very exciting it was to hold that baby in my hands, and see it change from a vague idea to a hard copy! 

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