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When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 19 Oct 2019 | 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. 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, and/or your ex refuses to attend mediation, then 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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[Add a Comment]
hi I am a clandestine boy and I lived with an English girl for almost a year and we separated while she was pregnant with our baby and we closed the contacts, I tried to see where she was through her aunt but she didn't say anything to me and shesearch to call the police witout any reason.and now I would like to find my child and I don't know how to do it you can help me now she has 7 months or so.
Lotz - 19-Oct-19 @ 6:58 PM
My ex has stopped me seeing my daughter. My ex lives in England I live in wales. I have had to move in with my parents and start again finding temporary employment etc. My ex is also blackmailing me with old videos she has of me doing things I shouldn't have done (please bear in mind these were historic) she says unless I go back to her she will publish these videos and I will never see my daughter again. I have no funds to employ a solicitor.. im at the end of my tether and I have no idea which way or who to turn to for help.. The system seems set up to help the mothers but not the fathers and my daughter needs me and I need her... Please help me
sox - 14-Oct-19 @ 11:28 AM
Hi Greentim84. You can contact your ex and ask to make arrangements regarding child contact. You can text or email her, that will be good, you will have a written proof, make sure you save these, anything small can help in future. If that won’t work your first step is the mediation. You can google online to find your nearest one. There will be a fee for that but before anything like going court, you will need to ask help from a mediation centre. If mediation don’t work, then you can apply for court within 6 months of having mediation. If the time passes the 6 months deadline, you will be asked to go back to mediation by court again, so do remember that, so you won’t have to pay twice. Good luck, hope that helps.
Reps - 12-Oct-19 @ 3:01 PM
@anywayse..... You can prepare a statement which it must of been asked from you by the court to do it on your full day hearing 28th November. On the statement, try not to directly say that Cafcass are lying but prove in your own words that how the report is not correct. It never goes well at court if you start accusing Cafcass being liers. So make a statement to take it to courts. Read the section 7 report, underline the parts which you are saying it’s not correct and in your own words, if you have prove as well to back you up, show them how in fact the report is not correct. The court will than have questions about the credibility of the report and the Cafcass officer. It’s probably the best way to go. Hope that helps.
Reps - 12-Oct-19 @ 2:18 PM
Hi Ronnie. If you have parental responsibility and if there is no court order denying that from you, yes, you have every right to know where your child lives now. She can’t deny you knowing where your child lives. You can contact solicitors to get further help but also, if there is a court order stating you have access to visitation, then she will be braking the law, so you can actually contact police in that matter. Hope that helps.
Reps - 12-Oct-19 @ 1:47 PM
Cafcass s 7 report so bad on me nothing positive which i talked to her full of lies please anyone what shall i do no direct no in direct contact i have full day hearing 28 novamber
Anywayse - 12-Oct-19 @ 2:08 AM
I split from my x partner about four weeks ago and she has stopped me seeing my kids for about only reason I didn’t want to be with her pathetic really but I can find a lawyer to help me because I can’t get legal aid help for fighting to see my kids so we’re does that leave me as a dad any advice would be appreciate
Greentim84 - 11-Oct-19 @ 11:56 PM
Hi I wonder if anybody can help..... My ex won't tell me where my son lives. do I have the right as his father with shared parental responsibility no where he resides.
Ronnie - 5-Oct-19 @ 10:16 PM
DJFletch80.after reading your story and countless others about fathers rights to see there children .the gods truth is I am nothing like you guys . I tried to change my (thinking )and be like the men in my family who see there children all the time .but Im not made that way .if the mother off my child thinks she is hurting me bye keeping my daughter away from me (think again) .i can honestly say once she left that was it 100 percent and it never entered my head about going to court for visitation that’s gods truth .the gods truth is I don’t have a daughter and never classed myself as a father gods truth .and if I am completely honest I think the men in my family are (weak ).they think I am a (crazy outlaw )I guess there are to types off men in this world that’s all .they get controlled bye they women and children .where guys like me see though there games and find it funny gods truth .
C .laurie - 25-Sep-19 @ 10:20 PM
I split with my ex around 4 years ago. My son is 5 now and iv not seen him for around 3 and half years. She doesn't let me see him because we split up and it's ripping me up. I know if let it a very long time and believe me the longer it goes the harder it gets. I'm pretty scared that if ibtry for access now I'm not going to get it because it's been so long iv even knocked on her door but when i heard him shouting mummy the door she just picked him up and went into another room. Iv done nothing wrong and i have 2 other sons that can't see there brother even though when we was together she did always make the point of telling them there STEP BROTHERS. This woman is just a full blown power trip and she knows the only way she can hit me hard is to use my son!! Has anybody any advice and have I left it to late?
DJFletch80 - 24-Sep-19 @ 5:41 PM
I’m just looking for some advise my ex two weeks ago found out I had a new partner I hadn’t told because I just wasn’t ready to my son hasn’t ever met her just seen her once on FaceTime iv tried reasoning with her told her my partner wouldn’t be involved with my son told her I’m still willing to work with her and got back that she’s not willing to work with me iv messaged her every day since asking how my son is she won’t reply she’s due to go on holiday Sunday with my son iv been told she needs a letter from me to take him is that true I know the next steps mediation and I’m happy to do it but at the same time I don’t want to pay the money for it for her to either tell me before it I can see my son or for her to just not show up I feel like I’m stuck no mater what I do
Higgins - 19-Sep-19 @ 7:37 PM
Hi I'm absolutely desperate for help i have been round in circles for months trying to get access to my son. I used to see him regularly until my ex stopped me for no reason whatsoever. I cant afford a solicitor, I'm on benefits, she's refused mediation, she has blocked my phone and won't even listen to anything i have to say.I have been to citizens advice, rang three different courts to see if i can get help with court costs if i represent myself. I haven't seen him for months and its breaking my heart, he has siblings from a previous relationship that i see regularly my x wont even let him meet them I'm totally at my wits end i don't know what to do.
Paul - 16-Sep-19 @ 3:56 AM
@tien.after reading your story .if I was you I would just( forget about it )it’s been four years bro .in my situation it’s been (10 years for me )it gets (better in time) I went though the same thing wanting to see my daughter .you have to worry about your (self no one else will bro ).my outlook on the my situation is if my daughter is interested in meeting me when she is older great if not well that’s ok two because in reality it’s been a very long time where we are complete strangers so I understand completely if she doesn’t.let it go bro that’s my advice to you no good will come from fighting a ex trust me brother I know for a fact 100 percent brother .move on let it go .
C.laurie - 14-Sep-19 @ 10:53 PM
Hi just wondering if someone could help me. 4 years ago I stop seeing my son, he was 6 at the time. Prior to that i used to see him once a week and every other weekend when his mother wasnt playing games. From before he was 1 I was up in court trying to get contact and was in court at least twice a year. It was very very stressful and when he was about 5-6 years old he really started saying he didnt want to spend time with me. I tried to perserver knowing that it was his mum polluting his mind because he loved spending time with me but in the end I couldn't keep putting him through the stress of a 1hour ordeal during the change overs of him coming to me. So i stopped forcing the contact and told his mum if he doesn't want to come then dont worry about bringing him. And I haven't seen him for now 4 years. Hardest decision in my life but I couldn't keep putting him through the stess and trauma. Know 4 years on obviously miss him and think of him every day I would like to get back in contact with him, but not sure the best way to do it so could someone please help with some advise. Contacting his mum is not something I can do I really really need another option. Cheers for listening
Tien - 13-Sep-19 @ 8:43 AM
Hi just wondering if someone could help me. 4 years ago I stop seeing my son, he was 6 at the time. Prior to that i used to see him once a week and every other weekend when his mother wasnt playing games. From before he was 1 I was up in court trying to get contact and was in court at least twice a year. It was very very stressful and when he was about 5-6 years old he really started saying he didnt want to spend time with me. I tried to perserver knowing that it was his mum polluting his mind because he loved spending time with me but in the end I couldn't keep putting him through the stress of a 1hour ordeal during the change overs of him coming to me. So i stopped forcing the contact and told his mum if he doesn't want to come then dont worry about bringing him. And I haven't seen him for now 4 years. Hardest decision in my life but I couldn't keep putting him through the stess and trauma. Know 4 years on obviously miss him and think of him every day I would like to get back in contact with him, but not sure the best way to do it so could someone please help with some advise. Contacting his mum is not something I can do I really really need another option. Cheers for listening
Tien - 13-Sep-19 @ 8:42 AM
me and my wife separated nearly 6 months agoafter 7 years of marriage we had two kids togetherage 5 and 3 years old .she claim that i raped her and hit my little one(i m not that kid of person i love my kids more than any thing in the world ) when to the police station got out same day after interview was on bail which is expired 3 months ago , I have no idea what police doing with the case nownearly 6 months now .my question is this how to contact my wife and kidsi have no idea where they gone no address and contact number , i have no idea how to start court proceeding plz help me as i m lost
DCO - 3-Sep-19 @ 8:14 AM
Hi I'm leaving this comment for my son who is in bits at the moment. He split with his GF 3 weeks ago and has only seen his daughter once since then. 2 weeks ago out of the blue he found out that she had been advised to not talk to him or let him see his daughter. Advised by who we don't know, he has taken advice from a solicitor and has arranged mediation. Is there anything else he can do as he can't find out how his daughter is.
Bikerboy - 28-Aug-19 @ 12:12 PM
Hi my ex I keeping me from seeing my daughters one 4 one 9, she also won't let me call them just keeps saying they don't want to due to all the bad stuff they have been told. My ex is in a new relationship and it's turned nasty saying he is there dad now they don't need me. Yes no lying I ain't been the best dad following the break up I was not the best character as I was so lost now I'm better I want my kids in my life I'm on both birth certificates. Can I do anything
Chris - 27-Aug-19 @ 1:46 PM
My ex gf stopping seeing my kids, cuz in relationship and happy, my ex has never been bothered about me being in relationship anyone, just the person I with now, cuz had either child, she lying to my kids, saying don't love them she grounds them if they come and see me, my younger one is only 9, what can I do help please...
Tommy - 25-Aug-19 @ 3:43 PM
Hi My ex suddenly stopped me seeing my son 2 years ago. I've never missed a payment for him and tried everything including emails phone turn up at door. Get others to try talk to her. All rejected or blocked. She now has a new husband and 2 more kids I myself have now 2 more kids but cant afford court or know what to do. I literally feel like I've got no help and support to try see my son. She doesn't like me and that's her reason and then tried to tell my family member that our son suffers stress being o ly 7 is in her eyes down to me. I'm running out of ideas and it's not helping with my current state and joy
Bren - 13-Aug-19 @ 2:28 PM
My husband and I had to fight for custody of his daughter 7 years ago and not a penny if CMS has been paid to him in all this time and it doesnt look lime we will ever get it. We are now going through it all again with my husbands son whos ex cheated on him but is messing him around with access to his daughter. As a woman I am disgusted with how so many women use their children as weapons whilst stating they are putting them first. As Grandparents we are also denied access even though I cave up full time work to look after our Grandchild. Something needs to change so that good Dads have fair and regular contact with thwir kids, how else will this pathetic cycle be broken?
Karma - 9-Aug-19 @ 8:56 AM
Reading what other fathers go through makes my situation feel like nothing. I simply have an arrangement to see my children every fortnight (Sat-Mon) which I stick to without fail. However, my ex feels she can amend this whenever it suites her. This was put in place in Feb2019. So there have been approx 13 weekends when they should have been with me. On 6 of those occasions she has changed the arrangement, resorting in me not seeing my children. Therefore going a month without seeing them. As I said, it is nothing in comparison, I have read some comments where men have gone months without access, some where they see them regularly but more like a baby sitter than a father. Regardless, it feels there is very little to support fathers in these situations.
Vrai - 5-Aug-19 @ 1:13 PM
I am Portuguese and I have been in the UK for a year and at this moment I am separated from my daughter's mother. My ex-partner and daughter are in the UK for 6 months. what I want to know since I am out of work right now and I want to go back to portugal and my ex partner and I have not come to an agreement what I can do to maintain my rights over my daughter and what I have to give to my daughter's livelihood
Oliveira da silva - 4-Aug-19 @ 12:56 PM
Need some urgent advice please.. I'm a disabled man in a wheelchair, and 5 weeks ago My wife made false allegations again of DV, she did this to me in 2012,but was dismissed by the police. Now 7 years on she's done it again. Long story short, I've now had a non-molestation order on me, to get me out my adapted home. What's the first thing I do to get to apply to see my children??? What forms do I need to get etc??? Thank you guys anyone please advise me..
Daren - 4-Aug-19 @ 7:57 AM
My Ex Partner is not allowing me to have my daughter of 3 years old overnight because she thinks my daughter won't want to. I have access to her but feel i'm more of a babysitter than a father at times because i only have her from 10am to 5pm. She has no reason for this other than to cause me distress because i feel like i'm failing as a father. I have a loving, safe home so what is the problem? Further more she is moving 150 miles away in September and taking my daughter with her obviously so day access will become unpractical for me but she is still refusing me to have her overnight. I've got a mediation consultation next week to start down the legal route. Hopefully it can be sorted out of court but i'm ready for court if it comes to that. Any bit of advise would be greatly appreciated.
Hedgehog - 4-Aug-19 @ 3:03 AM
Hi looking for advice really. My partner is being harassed for extra money every month even tho he pays CSA on time every month. He gets abusive messages calls etc if we don't have the money. We have offered to take his child out to shop for extra bits for her but no the mum wants it in her bank account,we don't trust she is using the money for the child. My partner works so hard for his family and getting this thrown at him every month is soul destroying. We don't earn a lot of money ourselves. The guilt is setting in for him and scared she will stop contact. I've told him he should just ignore her messages but is hard. He has his child every other weekend and holidays. He buys her new clothes and shoes all the time. And gives her pocket money. He can't block mum on phone as needs to stay in contact incase of emergencies. Do we just keep ignoring the messages? We are very confused and stuck on what to do. Thanks
Bee - 3-Aug-19 @ 10:50 AM
I’m paying a substantial amount every month to me ex and all of a sudden before visiting my 18 month old daughter tomorrow she has emailed me advising I can no longer see her. Obviously devastated. What action is best to take? Stop paying? Solicitor? Advice please. Very upset and stressed out Daddy.
Scottie - 2-Aug-19 @ 6:03 PM
Where is the justice for good men. Equality should work both wayshow are men supposed to be good fathers when they are denied. It seems mothers can be as vitriolic, nasty, abusive as they like and it's acceptable but a man just has to open his mouth and he's abusive, passive aggressive, controlling etcstop weaponising the children for your own ends
Broken hearted - 1-Aug-19 @ 9:10 AM
If a male stops a female having access to their child, the state calls it domestic abuse and the authorities are quick to react, if it is a female stopping a male, as we can see, that is seen as acceptable behavior by the state. The law is neither fair or equal and men are at a massive disadvantage when it comes to family law, it is the law that needs changing, not simply making applications through the courts after the fact, all that does is make it appear the broken system is actually working for all, it isn't. Pressure your MP's and do not allow yourselves to be used as a blank cheque book/ sperm donor by unscrupulous women, some of whom usethis as a lifestyle choice. I had custody of my son however I was informed by the CSA some years ago it wasn't really there for men to claim against women,unbelievable really, I was working so it made little difference to me however I was a believer that parents should contribute. She visited rarely and never helped with childcare between my shifts, our son was 4 years old at the time. Roll on 7 years, she became interested when he was big enough not to need care and she wanted him with her, he went as he was old enough to make that decision, I was hit with the CSA threat within weeks despite never having any contributions from her for years, that's women for you. My son became a latch key kid left to his own devices from 7am until 8pm during the week and I couldn't do a thing about it. If the child is old enough to make a decision, ie around the age of 12, it is pretty pointless fighting it so don't waste your time, my ex threw money at him to get him there and then threw my money at him via the monthly handouts once he was living with her. As I said, there is a lot of inequity, the system needs changing, this is where your efforts should be aimed.
Muttley12 - 18-Jul-19 @ 2:35 PM
@kee12.i am not a drug addicted or a alcoholic .I do have a criminal record .i walked away from my (only daughter) with help from her( mother) with (orders) .there comes a point you just have to let go (it is what is ).i am sure her daughter blames me for everything anyway with help from her mother. so it’s officially time to move on I can’t deal with people like her( mother) just the thought off it gives me chills. (Correction it’s best to walk away in some( situations )mine is one off them ).other wise I would end up in jail gods truth ).
C.laurie - 18-Jul-19 @ 5:11 AM
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