The other parent denies you access to children

Getting-access-to-child Separation or divorce is a very traumatizing event in one’s life and it would be more painful, if your ex-partner prohibits you to see your children. It is best to keep children out of such battles. However, it is very unfortunate, that sometimes, we have so much against each other, that we try all possible means to take our frustration out. There may be sometimes, valid reasons too for taking this kind of step. For example, your ex-spouse is a drug addict, habitual drinker or suffering from some disease or illness, or is physically disabled and can’t take care of children. However, if there are no valid reasons behind this, you need to figure out why your ex-spouse is doing this and what you can do to get an access to your children?

Why your ex-spouse is doing this?

The legal term used to describe this situation is known as “denial of contact”. It is not necessary that this happens right after the separation. There could be several reasons why your ex-spouse is not letting you to meet children

  • Your ex-spouse want to prove a point against you in court: In case of divorce, the custody of children can be an important issue and view of the children will be taken into consideration by the court before giving the final decision. Your ex-spouse may try to change the mind of children by telling them that you’re not a good parent for them. It is really important to maintain a diary and record all the important dates of your children, to prove that kids are your first priority.
  • Your ex-spouse wants you to feel bad: After the breakup, both the parties are hurt and it is possible that your ex-spouse has anger and frustration against you. She is just trying to take revenge from you by blocking access to kids.
  • Your ex-spouse doesn’t want you to know about the new relationship: You may have issues about the new partner living with your children or your ex-spouse may have reservations regarding you knowing about the new partner. If you visit the children regularly, there is a high probability that you will get to know about this new relationship. So, in order to prevent you to know about the new partner, your ex-spouse may block your access to children.

It is usually better not to overreact in this kind of situation and give your ex-spouse -spouse sometime to rethink about the decision. After, sometime your ex-spouse may feel different and both of you can settle it yourself.

The first step:

If nothing is working-out, then you need to write a registered letter to your ex-spouse -spouse. You should ask your ex-spouse -spouse to let you meet the children and restore contact between you and the children. It should be stated in the letter, that denying to do so, will force you to seek a legal action. Send an original copy of the letter to your ex-spouse -spouse and keep a second copy (photocopy) and postage with you as a proof.

Also read: Dating after separation

The court order issue:

If you still don’t get any response after writing the letter, the only option you’re left with is to go to court and obtain “contact order”. A court order can be obtained by submitting the C100 form to the court. This may allow you to meet your children on temporary basis, until the court’s final decision. It also depends on how your ex-spouse -partner responds to the interim court order. If you ex-spouse has no issue with the interim order or shows no objection, then issue can be resolved without appearing in court.

Meeting in the interim period:

The duration of the interim period is usually six months. You need to remind the court at “directions hearing” regarding your waiting period and ask for good amount of time that you want to spend with children, before the final hearing. However, court may not let the children to stay over, if the resident parent has issue with it.

Direction hearing:

It is always better to inform the opposing solicitor and the court before direction hearing that you’re going to ask for interim period and oral evidence. In this way, adjournment can be avoided. If you had any contact with the children before your ex-spouse has denied access, you should inform court regarding this. Similarly if you’ve “staying contact” prior to denial of contact, this should also be informed to the court.

The final hearing:

The role of CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer is a vital in proceeding of the final hearings. An interview will be conducted by CAFCASS officer from you, your ex-spouse -partner, your children (if they belong to particular age), teachers and carers (if any). Usually, recommendations made by the CAFCASS officer in the report regarding the custody and contact are accepted by the court. However, if you disagree or have concerns with the report partially or completely, you can ask for another report by different officer.

Still no access:

If you partner is still not willing to grant you access in accordance with the court order, you can inform court regarding this. However, you need to reconsider this option and give yourself good time to think about it, as this could have adverse impacts. Your ex-spouse -partner could be jailed or fined for this type of behaviour. This will also have a very negative effect on children and relation between both of you will further deteriorate.

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