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When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 15 Aug 2018 | 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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I have been divorced a year and ex has made things very difficult for me re our child lies and lies in court the legal system isn't straight forward. so I have taken her to court to try to see more of my daughter and not accompanied unlike she has set me up on through court/ I have paid another court hearing to try to see my child more but solicitor I have says not to say anything in court to keep quiet as this is first stage but next hearing after this one will be final should I be interrupting the court to tell the judge about all the lies I have lots of evidence. my ex says im a very bad dad and have not been responsible enough all the time this is just lies so any advise guys with next hearing soon/
nick - 15-Aug-18 @ 6:40 PM
I been in dark place but I have pulled though now I have moments but pull myself together pretty quick now snap out of it .my child mother is difficult but hey she is a women I have only had a few women and they all been difficult I always get broken ones but I am sure they would tell you that I amdifficult and the only one broken is me .the moral of my story is I f up big time I never went legal to see my daughter when i should have and got all emotional and upset and got carried away and got off track lost the point and go into a ramble pick fights about how I was wronged bye my x and family members.and not (daughter focused ,sorry daughter).
Rosscoe - 12-Aug-18 @ 1:13 AM
Micky - Your Question:
Hi, I hope someone can help me with this. Am going through a nightmare with my ex. I work full time, usually as requires hours Monday to Friday. Every week is different. Sometimes I can finish at 16.00 but most of the time I do long shifts.At the present time am only allowed to see my children once every other week. Now, my ex knows that I get paid per hour, meaning the less I work, the less money I get to survive and pay for everything. When I have access to my children on my weekend, I can only pick them up on Saturday morning, because I cannot skip work as I please. She recently started working. So she is demanding me to pay for the after schools hours because am not being able to collect them that day. Also she is demanding me to pick them up once or twice a week from school so she can have a break too. And make sure they have been feed beforehand. Until recently we have been arguing about this. But now she is saying that if don't do all this, I better don't bother to come to see them coz she's not gonna allow me to do so. And forget holidays also. What can I do. Is she right? By the way, we have 3 children together and I even give away to her my rights to the flat we both paid. Also I pay child maintenance, buy them clothes, take them for holidays, etc.And I work as a waiter.so imaging my salary at the nd of the month.any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks

Our Response:
Unfortunately, where you cannot agree between yourselves your only option would be to suggest mediation, please see the link here . You are not obliged to pay any more than the child maintenance assessed by CMS. If you pay through a family-based arrangement then you both negotiate what you pay (the CMS calculator makes for a good benchmark figure). As child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other, you would have to apply to court if your ex will not attend mediation, please see the link here.
SeparatedDads - 10-Aug-18 @ 1:40 PM
Hi, I hope someone can help me with this. Am going through a nightmare with my ex. I work full time, usually as requires hours Monday to Friday. Every week is different. Sometimes I can finish at 16.00 but most of the time I do long shifts. At the present time am only allowed to see my children once every other week. Now, my ex knows that I get paid per hour, meaning the less I work, the less money I get to survive and pay for everything. When I have access to my children on my weekend, I can only pick them up on Saturday morning, because I cannot skip work as I please. She recently started working. So she is demanding me to pay for the after schools hours because am not being able to collect them that day. Also she is demanding me to pick them up once or twice a week from school so she can have a break too. And make sure they have been feed beforehand. Until recently we have been arguing about this. But now she is saying that if don't do all this, I better don't bother to come to see them coz she's not gonna allow me to do so. And forget holidays also. What can I do. Is she right? By the way, we have 3 children together and I even give away to her my rights to the flat we both paid. Also I pay child maintenance, buy them clothes, take them for holidays, etc...And I work as a waiter...so imaging my salary at the nd of the month.any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks
Micky - 8-Aug-18 @ 7:01 PM
Mj - Your Question:
A friend of mine is separated from the mother of his child who is 9, but he wasn't put on the birth certificate. He has always had contact however from March this year he has been consistently denied visitation. Despite many requests various excuses have been made and he has now been told if he keeps pushing then the child's maternal family will take him abroad and he will not see him again or know where is. Obviously this is incredibly upsetting to my friend and he does not know what to do. He is desperate to see his son but is terrified that if he pushes any more then the worst could happen. He is not in a financial position to get solicitors involved and is unsure of how to proceed, without parental responsibility and his name on the birth certificate he has no rights but if he attempts to get these things then before if happens the child will more than likely be taken out of the country. Any advice would be really helpful on how to get the ball rolling and more importantly how to block the mother from potentially taken the child out of the country in the mean time because if they leave it is unlikely he")) be brought back to England. Thanks

Our Response:
Your friend could apply for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. If your friend can seek legal advice in the first instance, this may help. A solicitor's letter warning that if his ex tries to leave the country while a PSO is being applied for would be treated as abduction, should stop his ex from trying to leave the country while the matter comes to court.If your cannot afford legal representation after this or in court, he can self-litigate, please see the link here . Also, if he is on a low income he may get a reduction in court fees, please see the link here. At the same time as a PSO, he can apply for parental responsibility and access, please see the link here . If he has evidence of his ex warning that she would take the child abroad, this will help his case. Your friend may wish to join our Separated Dads forum where other dads may have been through similar experiences can help. The court will not look upon one parent threatening to leave the country with the child favourably.
SeparatedDads - 7-Aug-18 @ 2:06 PM
Mike - Your Question:
Not sure if already posted this.Im still going through a divorce, after agreeing mutual seperation we agreed regular visitation.After 2 months my ex wife was in a relationship and advised regular visits werent suitable. In the past 3 months a new partner moved in and they were expecting a child, despite repeated requests she refuses I should meet my daughters step father.Having after 18 months finalised finances I the following weekend received an email from her saying social services were investigating unusual behaviour she then switched off her phone and left our 7 year old 200 miles away with her mother.Social services were quick to confirm they had dismissed her sickening claims I was abusing our daughter, and managed to get her to agree some contact.After the 400 mile round trip and assurances they would keep in contact she and her family have again broken all contact. The social worker has advised a court order may be necessary as my ex wife is ignoring their advice, my concern is the damage to the relationship with my daughter that months without contact would cause. Do I have any other options?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, you don't have any other options apart from court. Where an arrangement breaks down you can apply directly to court without mediation (if you live a distance away). Please see the link here . You might wish to join our Separated Dads forum where other dads can give supportive help and advice. If a court order is put in place, then your ex would be bound to keep to it. In the first instance, a solicitor's letter to your ex stating that if access isn't reinstated then you will pursue the matter through court might help. If it doesn't an application to court is the remaining option.
SeparatedDads - 7-Aug-18 @ 10:24 AM
A friend of mine is separated from the mother of his child who is 9, but he wasn't put on the birth certificate. He has always had contact however from March this year he has been consistently denied visitation. Despite many requests various excuses have been made and he has now been told if he keeps pushing then the child's maternal family will take him abroad and he will not see him again or know where is. Obviously this is incredibly upsetting to my friend and he does not know what to do. He is desperate to see his son but is terrified that if he pushes any more then the worst could happen. He is not in a financial position to get solicitors involved and is unsure of how to proceed, without parental responsibility and his name on the birth certificate he has no rights but if he attempts to get these things then before if happens the child will more than likely be taken out of the country. Any advice would be really helpful on how to get the ball rolling and more importantly how to block the mother from potentially taken the child out of the country in the mean time because if they leave it is unlikely he")) be brought back to England. Thanks
Mj - 7-Aug-18 @ 9:12 AM
@mj.my surname is on my daughters birth certificate I haven’t seen her sense she was 5 .my ex loves the guys and cheats and because of this her sister told her to hide the child .but she never meet a guy like me before you see I never wanted kids or her mother .i seen this as a opportunity a get out of jail free card so to speak .its on her mother how she wants to rasie her i couldn’t care less .i respect her mother she never wanted child support because she was in love with my uncle and sleeping with him for years and I Personally think they make a good couple all the best to them suited for each other same age bracket plus he would most likely accept her cheating ways that’s the kind of guy he is completely opposite to me.i am so happy I have found peace and the understanding of my feelings now and realisation that I never want to meet my daughter (and it is ok ).your blogs been very helpful but I won’t be needing them anymore .because I don’t want my (daughter ).goodbye god bless .
C.laurie - 7-Aug-18 @ 1:56 AM
Not sure if already posted this... Im still going through a divorce, after agreeing mutual seperation we agreed regular visitation. After 2 months my ex wife was in a relationship and advised regular visits werent suitable. In the past 3 months a new partner moved in and they were expecting a child, despite repeated requests she refuses I should meet my daughters step father. Having after 18 months finalised finances I the following weekend received an email from her saying social services were investigating unusual behaviour she then switched off her phone and left our 7 year old 200 miles away with her mother. Social services were quick to confirm they had dismissed her sickening claims I was abusing our daughter, and managed to get her to agree some contact. After the 400 mile round trip and assurances they would keep in contact she and her family have again broken all contact. The social worker has advised a court order may be necessary as my ex wife is ignoring their advice, my concern is the damage to the relationship with my daughter that months without contact would cause. Do I have any other options?
Mike - 6-Aug-18 @ 7:56 PM
@dalla .well he as[ very right] to take the matter to court to see his daughter .i think its best to go though the courts when there is[ high conflict] because there is no right or wrong answer .but every mother and father have a right to see there child .i didn't go though the courts and i regret it i wish i did for visitation and for a [dna test] i was young and foolish back then full of piss and vinegar .but i will get to see her one day when is away from her mother she will work it out for herself when she is older .i have found peace within me from the past have job training again and[ enjoying it ]even went on a dinner date at the pub comedy night had good laugh and sleep over .
laurie - 20-Jul-18 @ 6:19 PM
Hi my x put me in court bcz our daughter refuse to see him, after a scandal took place he came to pick her up she refuse to go, he grabbed her throw her in his car and drove off. he even hit my mom cz he was swinging every where, and i went to the police they still advice that i leave her with him so things can go back to normal. it got worse she refuse to see him or talk about him shes been beging me not to let her go now he put me in court claiming i deny him access bcz i did not force her to go with him what do i do???
Dalla - 20-Jul-18 @ 12:53 PM
If you are a farther you have no right in the uk save your self the pain and false hope that You will get to see your kid best thing to do is walk away keep paying your child maintenance and try to rebuild your live and hope one day your kids will come and find you
Ryan - 17-Jul-18 @ 11:21 PM
Scotty - Your Question:
My ex partner will not let me see our child. I haven't seen her since she was 6 months old. What can I do to get access to see her?

Our Response:
The article answers this question, as does the link here.
SeparatedDads - 9-Jul-18 @ 3:29 PM
Mr Shahzad - Your Question:
Hi as I’m new here at this web I’m just looking any good advice to have my children contact as we did separate in Feb 2015 and I did apply for my child contact in March 2016 after two years Long court process the Family Court judge refused to have my any sort of contact with my both kids just to send them Birthday Cards Or New Years wishing cards etc.Now I’m so much upset shall what I can do as my second baby is going to be 3 years coming month and he didn’t see his dad at all.i do appreciate if I can get any legal advice regarding this case to have contact with my kids.Thanks

Our Response:
Unfortunately, unless there is a change in circumstance the court will not allow you to apply to vary the original court order. If you were stopped from seeing your children, it was because the court deemed it was in your children's best interests which is rare, as usually a court will grant access. There must have been a significant reason why the courts would not allow access at the time.
SeparatedDads - 9-Jul-18 @ 2:12 PM
My ex partner will not let me see our child. I haven't seen her since she was 6 months old. What can I do to get access to see her?
Scotty - 9-Jul-18 @ 11:47 AM
Hi as I’m new here at this web I’m just looking any good advice to have my children contact as we did separate in Feb 2015 and I did apply for my child contact in March 2016 after two years Long court process the Family Court judge refused to have my any sort of contact with my both kids just to send them Birthday Cards Or New Years wishing cards etc.Now I’m so much upset shall what I can do as my second baby is going to be 3 years coming month and he didn’t see his dad at all.i do appreciate if I can get any legal advice regarding this case to have contact with my kids. Thanks
Mr Shahzad - 8-Jul-18 @ 5:41 PM
Jay - Your Question:
I have a boy 19 months old I pay money into her bank an every weekend it’s ment to be my weekend she kicks off An stops me having him, I’ve knocked at the door to collect him an she’s attacked me an slammed the door then she dumped him with I dunno who An went out an called me from a club an said happy Father’s Day you c@-*. An I didn’t see my boy on Father’s Day it’s been a month this weekend since I’ve seen him

Our Response:
You would have to go through the process laid out in this article and via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jul-18 @ 9:52 AM
I have a boy 19 months old I pay money into her bank an every weekend it’s ment to be my weekend she kicks off An stops me having him, I’ve knocked at the door to collect him an she’s attacked me an slammed the door then she dumped him with I dunno who An went out an called me from a club an said happy Father’s Day you c@-*. An I didn’t see my boy on Father’s Day it’s been a month this weekend since I’ve seen him
Jay - 5-Jul-18 @ 1:20 AM
Dooley - Your Question:
Hi my x has stopped me seeing my kids now and I can't afford legal aid and court costs what's the best thing I can do plz because I haven't seen them for months and can't take any more of this

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You can self-litigate, please see link here, which should help you further. As will our Separated Dads forum.
SeparatedDads - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:18 PM
daddy11 - Your Question:
I want to go to court to get access to my daughter which has recently been stopped for no reason. im short on funds do you advise me representing myself in court or struggling to pay a solicitor?

Our Response:
We cannot make individual recommendations. However, we can say that if you do represent yourself in court (which will save you money) ensure that you do as much research as you can in order to give you a well-rounded knowledge of what the courts need to see when applying for access. The most important point to remember, is that the court case will not be about you or your ex, but what is in the best interests of your child. As your child is the most important person in any decision made. You can see more via the link here and here
SeparatedDads - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:57 AM
Hi my x has stopped me seeing my kids now and I can't afford legal aid and court costs what's the best thing I can do plz because I haven't seen them for months and can't take any more of this
Dooley - 1-Jul-18 @ 11:34 PM
i want to go to court to get access to my daughter which has recently been stopped for no reason. im short on funds do you advise me representing myself in court or struggling to pay a solicitor?
daddy11 - 1-Jul-18 @ 8:38 PM
@Dave - that is controllling, but what can you do? if you refuse then you'll end up in court because she will stop access and deep down it sounds as though she really wants to make it as difficult for you so she can stop access. You could do all she asks and keep it yourself for evidence of her controlling attitude if you ever need it in court. The main thing is to begin a pattern of having your child overnight. This way, once you have established a routine if you ever have to take it to court if she stops access you'll be in a better position to get access re-established.
JiMB - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:57 AM
Hi I'm looking for peoples opinion on my situation. Me and my partner broke up 7 months ago we have a child of 17months. I have regularly picked my son up since we broke up but have never had him stay with me over night this week is supposed to be the first time but I am now being told I can't have him as I refuse to send pictures of his room I have set up with his cot and stair gate all sorted I have said to his mother she is welcome to come and have a look at it which she has refused. I also have to fill in a diary every time I have him stating what he has eaten drank how many nappies and naps etc is this controlling and over the top or am I being unreasonable in thinking it is?
Dave - 28-Jun-18 @ 8:15 PM
HallieB - Your Question:
Hard situation for me. The father of my baby did emotionally abuse me, in the end after years of horrendous backlash from him I did react during pregnancy. To which he absolutely loved of course as sort of man to try build up untrue characteristics of myself. The issue is despite offering full contact agreeing to his solicitors letter he has denied our baby. I turned up to mediation and he didn’t again game tactics. My baby is my world and can’t stand the fact the father is very manipulating but more sontowards using my son now I see as a mother who cares a safeguarding issue. Debating a non molestation order he’s stopped all contact and I’m still sat on egg shells wondering what his next move will be and I want to nip it in the bud now to prevent anything going forward.

Our Response:
You cannot prevent the father of your child applying to go to mediation. A court will not allow him to apply unless mediation has been tried and failed.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jun-18 @ 3:13 PM
@Alroy - The courts are accustomed to dealing with and exposing lies. You'll be surprised how much the courts wants dads to have a relationship with their child. It doesn't always go in the mother's favour. Best of luck - this is not about you or your ex, but about your child. Don't slag off your ex and keep your kids interests in mind and you will be FINE!
SamH - 26-Jun-18 @ 3:44 PM
Hard situation for me. The father of my baby did emotionally abuse me, in the end after years of horrendous backlash from him I did react during pregnancy. To which he absolutely loved of course as sort of man to try build up untrue characteristics of myself. The issue is despite offering full contact agreeing to his solicitors letter he has denied our baby. I turned up to mediation and he didn’t again game tactics. My baby is my world and can’t stand the fact the father is very manipulating but more sontowards using my son now I see as a mother who cares a safeguarding issue. Debating a non molestation order he’s stopped all contact and I’m still sat on egg shells wondering what his next move will be and I want to nip it in the bud now to prevent anything going forward.
HallieB - 26-Jun-18 @ 1:19 PM
My ex got pregnant after a bad relationship where she would emotionally abuse me. She told me to get a stir done and blocked me from all contact. She made up lies and painted me out to be a bad man. She is keeping me away from my daughter to who I've never met because of her actions. I have to go to court tomorrow while she has lied badly to cafcass saying I made threats to burn her house down to what I never said. There was no harm made by me only telling her I'm taking her to court to see my baby girl. I'm scared I will lose and the court will believe her vile lies.... What can I do..
Alroy - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:09 PM
Jack - Your Question:
My eldest son had not seen his son in months, him n ex partner has really never seen eye to eye.i feel so sad as thats hurting him so badly I think that there both very volitile together. so best thing was to split. There back and forwards to court bren going on now atleast 3 years hes my only grandson. is there any way I can help sort this out as a grandmother? I have tried being in contact with my sons ex but all I got back was none of my business and abuse not nice.

Our Response:
I think if you have had a response from your son's ex to that level, then you need to leave it alone. Your son would have to try to resolve the issues as outlined in the link here .
SeparatedDads - 26-Jun-18 @ 11:05 AM
Fathers rights - Your Question:
Hi me and my ex partner have a baby that came home oxygen. After getting him home shes saying im not allowed to see my son or take him out. Now her family are getting involved making it 10 times harder for me to see my boy. What should I do and where do I stand.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, if your child is needing care, you may have to be supportive for a while. Please see the link here , which will tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jun-18 @ 3:04 PM
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