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When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 16 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Contact Court Final Hearing Directions

If your ex-partner says she’s not going to let you have any contact with your children, it can be one of the most distressing things that can happen to you. There may be a number of reasons behind her decision but somehow they’re irrelevant; you simply want to be able to spend time with your kids. So what can you do to change the situation?

Why It Happens

There are several reasons why your ex might deny you access to your children.
  • It could be a bargaining chip for Divorce or legal proceedings yet to come
  • It might be revenge for the break-up of the relationship
  • In some instances, it’s even been used as a way to conceal a new relationship

Denial of contact, as it’s called legally, doesn’t necessarily happen immediately after your relationship ends. It can occur at any time until the child is of age.

What to Do About It

Your first step should be to send a registered letter to your ex-partner in which you ask her to reinstate contact between you and your children. You should state that if she does not do so and will not consider mediation in order to try and resolve the issue, then you’ll have to resort to legal action. Don't forget to take a copy of the letter for your records and keep your proof of sending. However, remember court is always seen as a last resort and you will usually have to show that you have both attended a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you can apply.

If this produces no action, you have no alternative but to go to court and ask for an Interim Contact Order. In order to obtain a contact order you will need to submit the correct form to the court, find out which form you need Here.

What Does the Interim Contact Order Do?

The interim contact order allows you to have contact with your children until a full court hearing resolves the matter one way or another. If your ex shows no opposition to interim contact, it can be resolved without a court appearance. However, at this stage that’s not likely to be the case.

What Kind of Contact Can you Expect in the Interim?

What you and your solicitor will have to do is remind the court at a “directions hearing” of the length of time before the full hearing will occur. This can often be six months or longer, which can be detrimental to your relationship with your child. In most instances, the court will allow some limited contact between you and your children in the interim, although it’s unlikely to be “staying contact” (allowing the children to stay overnight with you) if the mother objects. She might also demand supervised contact, and the court will generally accede. This all seems heavily weighted towards the mother, even though you might have done nothing wrong. However, it’s a case of the court opting to be cautious.

The Directions Hearing

Prior to the hearing you should inform both the opposing solicitor and the court itself that your side will ask for interim contact and be asking for oral evidence. This will avoid any adjournment. If you’ve had previous contact with your child before you were denied access, especially “staying contact”, you should provide evidence of this to the court, as it will bolster your argument.

The Final Hearing

One of the most important factors preceding the final hearing is the report by the Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer. He or she will interview you and your former partner, your children, if they’re old enough, as well as carers and teachers etc. Generally, the court will accept the report’s recommendations regarding custody and contact. If you disagree with the report, either in part or completely, you can ask for more information, or for another report by a different officer.

If You’re Still Denied Access

If your former partner denies you contact in defiance of an order laid down by the court, you can take her to court to demand access. However, before taking this step, think carefully, as it will not only make relations between the two of you worse, but could possibly end up with her fined or in jail, which will have an adverse affect on the children. If at all possible, you should Attempt Mediation first.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Paul - Your Question:
Good afternoon,I have already emailed my soon to be ex-wife on the 8/10/17 asking for her to attend mediation for me to have access to my children and to date have had no response. We separated on the 1/10/17 and since the 2/10/17 I have been unable to gain access to seeing my 2 boys (Sam 3 and Ben 5).Is the best course of action still to send a registered letter to the same effect, asking for mediation?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, you may wish to consult a solicitor and request a solicitor sends a letter, or you could send a registered letter and keep a copy. If you continue to receive no response, you would have to apply directly to court.
SeparatedDads - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:45 PM
Good afternoon,I have already emailed my soon to be ex-wife on the 8/10/17 asking for her to attend mediation for me to have access to my children and to date have had no response. We separated on the 1/10/17 and since the 2/10/17 I have been unable to gain access to seeing my 2 boys (Sam 3 and Ben 5).Is the best course of action still to send a registered letter to the same effect, asking for mediation?
Paul - 14-Oct-17 @ 4:49 PM
Hi I've. Even to court for access to my son. I have been granted access but my ex made a false accusation and had me arrested so she could stop contact I have been back to the court and have been granted access at a contact centre. Today was my first contact with my son and I received a call from the contact centre that my ex was not prepared to bring my son in case the court decided I wouldn't be able to have contact anymore what can I do
Slim - 14-Oct-17 @ 11:28 AM
Hello. I git an arrangement between me nad my ex to see my 5 years daughter. However every time she got angry she try to stop ne from seeing my her. I used to take my daughter every 2 week for 2 nights and 1 day. Now she stop me and she will give her only for 1 night every 2 weeks. What i should do to stop her before the things get worse thx.
Dakka 44 - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:40 PM
@NimbleJARS - it's because some mothers don't want the father's name on the birth certificate, because they have to ask for consent then to; leave the country and travel abroad and make other decisions. But, you have a pretty good chance of getting parental responsibility of your child. It's rare a court will refuse that.
Mark - 12-Oct-17 @ 2:48 PM
I'm in the process with a solicitor sending a letter to get my name on my 2 year olds birth certificate. For some bizarre reason she has constantly refused to do the certificate. I have always paid more maintenance than I am suppose to. Traveled to Scotland to see her from England twice a month and have just finally moved to Scotland to be close to my daughter. I had her over night stays for sound 6 weeks but her new partner, who I believe is influencing my daughters mother is making things very difficult. It kinda doesn't help that her mum is a social worker but is completely emotionally compromised and not fit to mediate in any way. I have all proof with statements, letters requesting my name and contact, what nights I had her originally etc etc. I am so worried that this might go against me with her lies. Have I got a strong case to get this sorted?
NimbleJARS - 12-Oct-17 @ 2:56 AM
Pjl - Your Question:
I've got a court order in place after not being able to see my son for over a year but am still being denied access by his mother after this was granted.which lead to a massive argument where I lost my temper.as I was emotìonal I lost my cool an stupidy made a threat towards her.what course of action can I take.i have even tried 3 party drop off which she argues to but then doesn't turn up.at the end of my restraint

Our Response:
Please see link: Breach of Court Order - What to Do here which will explain more. Losing your cool, is never a good idea as this can backfire. However, if your ex has breached the court order, you can return to court to have the order enforced. Or a solicitor's letter outlining your ex's obligations to the court order and the reprecussions if she does not keep to the terms, may work.
SeparatedDads - 9-Oct-17 @ 11:36 AM
Cliff - Your Question:
My ex and I separated a few weeks ago she got someone else behind my back and won’t speak to me she has blocked me in every way and she said we would always be friends and I would always be able to see my 2 year old daughter but she now has said I can’t see her can anyone help I don’t want anything to do with her I just want to be a father to my daughter by seeing her buying her clothes shoes trips out and just dad time please help

Our Response:
Unfortunately, the only recourse you have is to follow the advice laid out in the article as soon as possible. If your ex will not communicate with you in any way, then you may wish to seek some advice from a solicitor. In the first instance, a solicitor's letter may work, as it will outline the process she will have to go through. If she does not re-instate access, then mediation and or court should follow. If you cannot afford legal representation in court, you can self-litigate, please see link here . I hope the situation resolves itself soon. If it doesn't our Separated Dads forum may also help, as many dads who have been through this situation can give guidance.
SeparatedDads - 9-Oct-17 @ 9:43 AM
My ex and I separated a few weeks ago she got someone else behind my back and won’t speak to me she has blocked me in every way and she said we would always be friends and I would always be able to see my 2 year old daughter but she now has said I can’t see her can anyone help I don’t want anything to do with her I just want to be a father to my daughter by seeing her buying her clothes shoes trips out and just dad time please help
Cliff - 8-Oct-17 @ 10:37 AM
I've got a court order in place after not being able to see my son for over a year but am still being denied access by his mother after this was granted..which lead to a massive argument where I lost my temper..as I was emotìonal I lost my cool an stupidy made a threat towards her..what course of action can I take..i have even tried 3 party drop off which she argues to but then doesn't turn up..at the end of my restraint
Pjl - 8-Oct-17 @ 1:39 AM
James - Your Question:
Hello. I am having to start court proceedings for access to my 3 year old daughter. I have filed a C100 form and paid the relevant fee but the papers have been returned as I had stated that I think my ex has moved house. I am unsure where she has moved to as she has stopped contact and ignored all communication. I have contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau but they could not assist. What are my options as I am representing myself and a solicitor has informed me they charge £250 per hour and would take an upfront payment of £1000 before they can assist me.Kindest regards and thank you for your time

Our Response:
You have two options, one is to use an independent tracing agency (for which you will have to pay), the other is to fill in a C4 form and return it along with your C100. This is an application for an order for disclosure of a child’s whereabouts. This will allow the courts to put a trace on your child. Please see link here . The former will give you the address directly. With the latter application, if your ex wishes the address to remain confidential, then the court will consent to this. However, it will allow you to bring the matter to court. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 28-Sep-17 @ 10:28 AM
I am South African man having a 9 Months Daughter in UK,i am sending money to her mother every month.After the birth of the child things never been easy between me and my partner because of the distance.We had continous fights and arguments.When my Partner is angry she shut me out of her life,she doesn't take my calls.I don't know how my Daughter is doing or how is she.No pictures from April till now the last pictures i have i took them in April when i was in London.i don't know how my Little girl looks like since April.I have been trying to contact my partner for a visit she is not cooperating with me,she shut me out of her life and out of our Daughter's life. All i want is to be part of my Child life if her Mother doesn't what anything to do with me anymore.
TK - 28-Sep-17 @ 6:53 AM
Hello. I am having to start court proceedings for access to my 3 year old daughter. I have filed a C100 form and paid the relevant fee but the papers have been returned as I had stated that I think my ex has moved house. I am unsure where she has moved to as she has stopped contact and ignored all communication. I have contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau but they could not assist. What are my options as I am representing myself and a solicitor has informed me they charge £250 per hour and would take an upfront payment of £1000 before they can assist me. Kindest regards and thank you for your time
James - 27-Sep-17 @ 9:01 AM
@AH - excellent well-balanced advice. We need more dads like you who understand it's all about the child not about the parents wants or needs or selfishness (a lot of the time).
Charlie88 - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:54 PM
My 5th grade daughter has been friends with all the neighbor kids here for over 4 years. Last Wednesday, my ex contacted the local police and told them that neighbor boys had forced her to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, watch porn, showed them their penis, and sexually molested her. After the children's service representative interviewed my daughter, she indicated to me that my daughter said the boys had looked at porn on their smart phones and that they had touched her arms and legs. My ex filed for an ex parte from me, but that was denied. She lied numerous times about multiple times about having a court order, and also that she was advised by proper authorities, which she wasn't. I showed up with the police to pick my daughter up at the proper time I was supposed to get her, but my ex had informed me she wasn't going to be home. So the police noted that she was in violation of the original visition order. She is also not letting me speak to her over the phone, so I have absolutely no contact while my daughter is having to go through this, and I've not been able to speak to her about it and comfort her. My ex says she is filing to get me in court to receive only supervised visitation. We've been in this neighborhood for 7 years and never had an issue like this. Am I the one that is guilty here? I am as concerned as she is, and I feel as though I'm lost because there is nothing I can do. Is my ex in the wrong for what she is doing? Can she get in trouble? What could a judge do to her for denying visititation, and then further ignoring a judge's denial of a new ex parte attempt, and further than that denying me the right to talk to her? Because if so, she absolutely deserves it punishment, she has spent 11 years trying to rule every moment I have with my daughter. I have page upon pages of morally questionable actions that she has done over the years. My daughter wants to live with me full time. My heart is in tears because I know my daughter is crying that her mom won't let her call me. Please help advise me the most rapid and effective way to handle this. Thank you so much for any guidance.
ConcernedFather - 24-Sep-17 @ 7:04 PM
This is good for flawless dads but do think your "reasons why it happens x3" are a bit sexist mate. Like women only do it cos they are manipulative. Many women are scared or have separation anxiety, or in a hell of a lot of cases there is genuine domestic abuse! You should be fair n list all reasons not just dissing women or this will give abusers ideas to harm them more. Just saying! As A Scottish gent. Women can't often prove DA and just want to protect their children. Also a decent dad should pay maintenance as a mother has to pay to be a mum or social services would be up her ass. It needs patience to see your child and done as a gent not as a negative thinker. The system is very pro dads but its right the child's well being comes before a parents wants. Is there advice on how an estranged dad can re introduce himself to his child once contact established?
AH - 23-Sep-17 @ 12:46 AM
gamble - Your Question:
Ive been trying to see my daughter since the start of janurary but my ex has constantly made up excuses. she not in shes out and never lets me see her its been 9 months I pay for her ever month. And ive tried mediation and nothing. also shes made countless fake facebooks called my work and ive called the police for harassment and they do not help it just seems to me that the women get all the help and the men are made out to be the bad guy everytime when all we want isto see are children.

Our Response:
If you have suggested mediation in order to resolve these issues, your next and only option (if you wish to gain access to yoru daughter) is, as specified in the article, to take the matter to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for a contact order. Your other options are to block any contact from your ex via telephone and social media until the court resolves the issue on your behalf.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-17 @ 1:42 PM
Desperate for advice. 2 days ago. 20/09/17 I was denied access from the courts. They gave me nothing. What can I do for me next move. Been told I can appeal to the court. Apart from that does anyone have suggestions. Not seen my 2 small boys for coming up to a year now. Please advise. Thank you
Myles - 22-Sep-17 @ 1:16 PM
black - Your Question:
Me and my ex dont get on ive told her lets sort contact so I dont have to see you just a few hours a week and I said it could be with your mum or anyone im not fussy just want to see my daughter anyway she said it will be fine and I wont ever stop you but we fell out and now shes stopped me like I new would happen what should I do ??

Our Response:
Your only recourse is to take the advice given in this article.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-17 @ 11:44 AM
Mike - Your Question:
Hi everyone. My ex tends to deny me seeing my wee girl without a good reason, apart from 'becouse',best case scenario advising me last minute about some 'events' etc.I've been jumping hoops long enough, tolerating her abusive and agressive behaviour.Reason is simply out of question. I dont know what to do anymore

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you, then as specified in the article your only option is to suggest mediation and if your ex refuses, apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-17 @ 10:55 AM
ive been trying to see my daughter since the start of janurary but my ex has constantly made up excuses... she not in shes out and never lets me see her its been 9 months I pay for her ever month... And ive tried mediation and nothing... also shes made countless fake facebooks called my work and ive called the police for harassment and they do not help it just seems to me that the women get all the help and the men are made out to be the bad guy everytime when all we want isto see are children....
gamble - 21-Sep-17 @ 6:42 PM
me and my ex dont get on ive told her lets sort contact so i dont have to see you just a few hours a week and i said it could be with your mum or anyone im not fussy just want to see my daughter anyway she said it will be fine and i wont ever stop you but we fell out and now shes stopped me like i new would happen what should i do ??
black - 21-Sep-17 @ 3:34 PM
Ben - Your Question:
Hi I was wondering if you get me I have been separated by ex partner for over 4 years now and my little girl is 4 now but the mother of my little girl wouldn't let me be on the birth certificate and even allow me to be at the birth I have been to a solicitor before and they have sent her a letter asking if I could see my daughter and she declined instantly what do I do regarding this matter Many Thanks for reading this and helping my situation

Our Response:
The fact is, whatever you do from here on in you have nothing to lose, but all to gain. I suggest you ask your solicitor this time to write a letter stating that she has a specified time to either arrange a date when you can see your child, or arrange a date via mediation to organise a terms of access or you will take the matter to court. This time if she does not respond, you would need to apply to court for a child arrangement order, please see link here . If after the solicitor's letter you cannot afford legal representation in court, you can self-litigate, please see link here. I would make sure you join our Separated Dads forum, which will give you help and support and other support groups such as Families Need Fathers. If you are on a low income and cannot afford court fees, please see link here . Regardless of whether you are on the birth certificate, you can apply for access and you can also apply for parental responsibility, which gives you the same rights as being registered on the birth certificate. The courts do want fathers to have access to their children. As you haven't seen your child for a while, it may start as supervised, but lead to unsupervised access in the future. Whatever contact you are allowed, it will be better than the lack of contact you have currently. Good luck.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-17 @ 12:07 PM
Hi everyone. My ex tends to deny me seeing my wee girl without a good reason, apart from 'becouse', best case scenario advising me last minute about some 'events' etc. I've been jumping hoops long enough, tolerating her abusive and agressive behaviour. Reason is simply out of question. I dont know what to do anymore
Mike - 21-Sep-17 @ 9:01 AM
Hi I'm just looking for some advise. My partner had a disagreement with my ex and now my ex has decided that I can't have my child stay with us over night (we previously had her half of the time). I arranged for mediation and in the mean time I was allowed to visit my child at their grandparents as their mum hasn't been around herself. I attended the mediation but she postponed hers and after we argued over the case she cancelled it entirely. I handed in a C100 form requesting residency as my child needs a stable home life and now conveniently my ex has brought them back home and has told me I can't see them until court. Help?
LW - 20-Sep-17 @ 9:46 AM
Hi I was wondering if you get me I have been separated by ex partner for over 4 years now and my little girl is 4 now but the mother of my little girl wouldn't let me be on the birth certificate and even allow me to be at the birth I have been to a solicitor before and they have sent her a letter asking if I could see my daughter and she declined instantly what do I do regarding this matter Many Thanks for reading this and helping my situation
Ben - 20-Sep-17 @ 8:33 AM
BabyMa - Your Question:
My ex went back to his wife when I was pregnant with our son. He changed his number and said if I want to talk to him I have to go through his wife. I never contacted either of them. He then resumed contact just before the baby was born. He allowed him contact with his son. His wife then started demanding that she wanted to see the baby and I refused. My ex then stopped seeing his son or making any contact and said until his wife was allowed to see his son he did not want to have anything to do with him. My son is now 6months and he is now saying he wants to pick him up for a couple of hours so that he can spend time with his family. This woman is very manipulative and I have refused to speak to her or have anything to do with her. I have never refused for my ex to have a relationship with his son but he is saying he will not see him without his wife. Can you advise me how I can handle this situation.

Our Response:
You can handle it in two ways; you can go along with your ex's request and allow him to have access to your child. Or you can refuse. If you refuse, your ex will then have the option to suggest mediation, and/or if you refuse of the mediation process breaks down, he can apply to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order, not whether you or your ex's wife don't get on.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-17 @ 4:12 PM
My ex went back to his wife when i was pregnant with our son. He changed his number and said if i want to talk to him i have to go through his wife. I never contacted either of them. He then resumed contact just before the baby was born. He allowed him contact with his son. His wife then started demanding that she wanted to see the baby and i refused. My ex then stopped seeing his son or making any contact and said until his wife was allowed to see his son he did not want to have anything to do with him. My son is now 6months and he is now saying he wants to pick him up for a couple of hours so that he can spend time with his family. This woman is very manipulative and i have refused to speak to her or have anything to do with her. I have never refused for my ex to have a relationship with his son but he is saying he will not see him without his wife. Can you advise me how i can handle this situation.
BabyMa - 17-Sep-17 @ 1:03 AM
could you guys please help me? My ex wife is after my money and don´t let me live my life with my kids, everything I buy for my kids she stops them to take it home. This woman just wants money, I can´t give anything to my kids, she sends the kids to spend the weekend with me with no clothes at all, I have to go and buy them clouths for the weekend and then they can not take these clothes to theyir mums and next weekend I will have to do the same again. I am paying child maintinence £131 per week because she stop me to pay direct to her bank acount and reported me to CSA saying that I didn`t want to give any support for my kids. CSA does not care about my situation, they are taking the money of my wages charging me 20 per cent fees for something that I didn`t do, also they´re ruin my life...I can´t have peace anymore plus these guys are taking a lot more money of me than they should and that money is not going to my kids. I am a Portuguese citizen living and working in this country for about 6 years and was married to this woman for about 14 years. My kids are not happy with all this seeing their dad getting in trouble for something he never done...NEED HELP PLEASE
caandeias - 16-Sep-17 @ 4:17 PM
Ali - Your Question:
I won't bore you with the details. I'm determined to fight for my 5 year old son, but I can't live without seeing him for months on end!I want to go to his school to see him on his lunch break, more importantly, he needs to see me. Is this allowed?In what circumstances would a father be given custody of their child?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the circumstances surrounding access. It is always a tricky issue and general advice would be to stay away until the court case resolves the matter. It is always and understandably tempting to try to see your child (if and where the resident-parent has denied access). But this short-term idea can lead to other issues such as the police being involved or a complaint to the police against you which may impact upon your access when the matter goes to court. My advice is think of the long term benefits rather than short term gain (which I know is difficult when you haven't seen your child for a while). If in doubt seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:22 PM
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