Home > Legal > When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Jan 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, and stating that if she does not do so, 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.

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.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi I'm having trouble seeing my daughter. She is 7 years of age. I see both my son and daughter every other weekend until lately. Now my daughter has decided to stop coming to visit as her family are offering to take her elsewhere on my weekends and decides to go with them instead. Can I do anything about this? Also my son wants to live with me and he is 8, what is the likly hood of that happening??
Sibble - 20-Jan-17 @ 9:12 PM
Jay - Your Question:
Hello, does anyone have any advice on a good solicitor which is also quite cheap? Although I work I am struggling for money, paying bills, travelling miles, paying maintenance and for a contact centre is taking its toll.

Our Response:
We cannot recommend solicitors directly. Also, if you canot afford legal fees and you wish to take your ex to court for access to your child, you can self litigate, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jan-17 @ 12:47 PM
Hello, does anyone have any advice on a good solicitor which is also quite cheap?Although I work I am struggling for money, paying bills,travelling miles, paying maintenance and for a contact centre is taking its toll.
Jay - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:15 PM
Nat - Your Question:
Hi, I need some help.My partner & I haven't been together for very long but I've been very close friends with the family for a couple of years. He has 2 children with his ex girlfriend of 6 years aged 4 and 8 months old. She had a restraining order put on him from an argument and kicking Him out and is not allowing him to have contact with his children. It's destroying him. She allows it one minute and has him round to see them and get the order lifted but then gets him arrested for being there. He's on the birth certificate of one child and not the other also tried contacting other members of her family to see if they could help so she didn't have to see him and they have been no help. What else can he do and ASAP?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this - but unless his ex will consent to having mediation in order to resolve the matter between them informally, please see link here, as specified in the article, he would have to apply to take the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 12:56 PM
Blerbo - Your Question:
Hi, need some advice. My partner wants regular access with his son, we know how to go about this.the worry we have is he doesnt pay csa/maintenance because he would love to have his son as much as he can, she just picks and chooses when he can. Can she order him to pay/backdate payments? Even though its her choice to deny contact. Thanks

Our Response:
Firstly, child maintenance and child access are two completely unrelated issue that are not dependent upon each other. With regards to child access, if your partner wishes to gain access, then regardless of whether he pays maintenance or not he can still apply. Therefore, if he wishes for a more concrete arrangement then he would have to either suggest mediation, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here and if his ex refuses mediation, then he would have to the option to apply to court. With regards to maintenance, every non-resident parent is obligated to pay towards the day-to-day welfare of their child. However, if the NRP is not earning, then it is likely they are exempt. However, if he is earning and paying taxes through the HMRC and the resident parent decides to apply via the CMS, then they will be expected to pay.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 12:15 PM
Hi, I need some help. My partner & I haven't been together for very long but I've been very close friends with the family for a couple of years. He has 2 children with his ex girlfriend of 6 years aged 4 and 8 months old. She had a restraining order put on him from an argument and kicking Him out and is not allowing him to have contact with his children. It's destroying him. She allows it one minute and has him round to see them and get the order lifted but then gets him arrested for being there. He's on the birth certificate of one child and not the other also tried contacting other members of her family to see if they could help so she didn't have to see him and they have been no help. What else can he do and ASAP?
Nat - 15-Jan-17 @ 8:24 PM
Hi, need some advice. My partner wants regular access with his son, we know how to go about this..the worry we have is he doesnt pay csa/maintenance because he would love to have his son as much as he can, she just picks and chooses when he can. Can she order him to pay/backdate payments? Even though its her choice to deny contact. Thanks
Blerbo - 15-Jan-17 @ 4:16 PM
Hi, I'm doing this for a friend of mine who doesn't fully understand what to do etc. So basically his son his 6months old but he hasn't seen him since September. As his ex isn't allowing him too, he went suicidal and went down hill as his little boy was his world. He's gotten back on track and is dieing to see his again. Any help! Also does it cost in anyway?. Many thanks in advance.
gem - 14-Jan-17 @ 7:37 PM
What park of the court system to I go to get forms for all of this? And in what city/County? The county where the child is living im assuming? Also is there a template I can get to start the first step process.
Dave - 14-Jan-17 @ 3:49 PM
Shelly - Your Question:
Hi.I just want to know if I have a right to call my children through telephone, my ex was allow ing this every day until she got annoyed with a few weeks ago. me speaking to my children by telephone helped me aswell as them. Just looking for a bit of advice please. Thanks Leigh

Our Response:
Whatever arrangements made with regards to contact are agreed mutually between parents, unless ordered by the court. If your ex has stopped access, as specified in the article you would either have to suggest mediation, in order to try to resolve the matter out of court - or apply for a court order to have your contact reinstated.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jan-17 @ 3:10 PM
GoDiegoGo - Your Question:
HiMy ex is being very obstructive with contact with my daughter. We had a mediation where we agreed terms of contact and now she is going back on what we agreed because she's upset that I took my tv out of the home. I can't afford a solicitor but have money for a court order, is this the best form of action for me to take and do you have any advise for me?Thank you

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. In the first instance I would perhaps ask a solicitor to write a letter reiterating the terms agreed in mediation, otherwise your intention will be to seek access through the courts. If this does not prove successful, then if you need to take the matter to court you can self-litigate which will cut out the hefty legal fees, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:57 PM
Hi .I just want to know if I have a right to call my children through telephone, my ex was allow ing this every day until she got annoyed with a few weeks ago. me speaking to my children by telephone helped me aswell as them. Just looking for a bit of advice please. Thanks Leigh
Shelly - 11-Jan-17 @ 10:47 AM
Hi My ex is being very obstructive with contact with my daughter. We had a mediation where we agreed terms of contact and now she is going back on what we agreed because she's upset that I took my tv out of the home. I can't afford a solicitor but have money for a court order, is this the best form of action for me to take and do you have any advise for me? Thank you
GoDiegoGo - 10-Jan-17 @ 8:00 PM
Dame - Your Question:
Hi my ex girlfriend and I have twin boy's 21 months old. She kicked me out of the house when the boys were 8 months old. Because she wanted the singel life. One minute im allowed to see my sons. Then she decides that im not allowed then I can. She loves playing with my emotions. I cant afford to go to court. I want to be able to see them at weekends. I dont have my own place at the moment so cant have them over night. When she 1st kicked me out of our home and she wanted to go out all the time I looked after the boy's 4 / 5 nights / days aweek I stayed at her house she stayed out. But it isn't suitable for me to stay at hers now as we are both in relationships. But I cant keep haveing my son's and my lifes being like it is they need to have me in there life like I do them they are my world

Our Response:
I'm afraid you only option would be to suggest mediation in order to try and resolve the matter between you, or if your ex rejects this, then as outlined in the article you would have to take the matter to court. If you cannot afford legal fees you can self-litigate, please see link here. You may also be awarded a reduction in court fees if you are on a low income.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jan-17 @ 3:05 PM
Hi my ex girlfriend and I have twin boy's 21 months old. She kicked me out of the housewhen the boys were 8 months old. Because she wanted the singel life.One minute im allowed to see my sons. Then she decides that im not allowed then i can. She loves playing with my emotions.I cant afford to go to court. I want to be able to see them at weekends.I dont have my own place at the moment so cant have them over night. When she 1st kicked me out of our home and she wanted to go out all the time i looked after the boy's 4 / 5 nights / days aweek i stayed at her house she stayed out. But it isn't suitable for me to stay at hers now as we are both in relationships.But i cant keep haveing my son's and my lifes being like it is they need to have me in there life like i do them they are my world
Dame - 10-Jan-17 @ 9:58 AM
Help!!! - Your Question:
I need some advice/help. I've been seeing son (3) on and off for over 2 years now. She's keep on letting me see him then all of a sudden it stops. At first I did do wrong but she forgave me and I started seeing him properly 6months ago, now about 3 weeks ago she stopped me completely because I asked for regular contact. I told her that we will have to do mediation but she said that if she doesn't know the number then she isn't gonna answer. I'm just so stuck on what to do, I do have support but not from people that's been in my situation. I don't think I can get legal aid because I can't prove that I'm on a low income. Just need some help or advice or even someone to talk to. I HATE being away from my boy. It's killing me so much. Makes it worst that she told me that he never wants to see me, not sure if it's just her saying that or he actually means it. I'm desperate for any advice on what to do. Thanks in advance

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, if your ex is refusing to attend mediation, then as specified in the article you may have to take the matter to court. If you can afford to, it may be worth you seeking legal advice in the first instance and a solicitor's letter to her may have an effect. However, if you cannot afford to seek paid legal advice, the Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help. With regards to taking the matter to court, if you cannot afford legal fees you can self-litigate, please see link here. In addition, all the articles on the Separated Dads site are written to help you through the process whether it is emotional, financial or helping you through the court process, therefore, reading them all will help. Signing up to our Separated Dads forum can also help if you have specific questions you want answered. If you need someone to talk to directly, please see Family Lives link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:49 PM
I need some advice/help. I've been seeing son (3) on and off for over 2 years now. She's keep on letting me see him then all of a sudden it stops. At first I did do wrong but she forgave me and I started seeing him properly 6months ago, now about 3 weeks ago she stopped me completely because I asked for regular contact. I told her that we will have to do mediation but she said that if she doesn't know the number then she isn't gonna answer. I'm just so stuck on what to do, I do have support but not from people that's been in my situation. I don't think I can get legal aid because I can't prove that I'm on a low income. Just need some help or advice or even someone to talk to.. I HATE being away from my boy. It's killing me so much. Makes it worst that she told me that he never wants to see me, not sure if it's just her saying that or he actually means it. I'm desperate for any advice on what to do. Thanks in advance
Help!!! - 5-Jan-17 @ 3:15 PM
Hi, I am looking to start the process to see my two children, the first step being a letter! I am looking for a template as I want to make sure I include everything I need to. Can anyone help me with this atall please?
Jack - 1-Jan-17 @ 4:37 PM
Recently split with my partner an she left without prior warning with my daughter. I havent seen her since and thats been a month now. My ex is denying me access. Also she has made several threats about taking me off our daughters birth certificate an removing my surname from our daughters surname. She has been so nasty an caused me so much stress in currently suffering with depression and insomnia. Could you please please advise me what i could do to get access?
Daniel - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:08 PM
Hi was wondering if you can help. I have a court order for alternate weekends and Wednesdays for my son and 2 weeks at summer time. Was wondering if I was entitled to access at half term and Christmas too? Thanks
Steve - 23-Dec-16 @ 5:38 AM
JasperGav - Your Question:
Two questions if possible.1) When I have my daughter for the weekend do I have to tell my ex that I am leaving the house with her? Only asking as I went to take our daughter to see her sister which is an hours drive away and my ex demanded that she had everyone's number and address just in case, I understand tell just in case bit, I said that if anthing did happen you would be informed. Question is "do I have to give these details out"?2) I have started a new relationship, we spend 5 months getting to know each other first before we said we was going out as she had kids too and we wanted to make sure it was right first,the next step was to introduce them to each other which we did saying we was just friends not going out,the kids git on better than we hoped. My ec found out before I could talk to her, anyway she's now saying that I can't take my daughter for a sleep over at my new partners house as my daughter needs to get used to it, I understand this and wouldn't pit her in any situation she wasn't happy with. I have talked to our child about what's happening and she's fine with it and wants to stay over. Can I take my daughter with me for one night or do I have to listen to her mum?

Our Response:
It is always better that any agreements are consensual, but there is a limit to the demands your ex can make on you as you too do have parental responsibility. If you can't come to an agreement, then you could suggest mediation, please see link here.It is a good way to resolve a situation informally so that you both know where you stand and it may give your ex more peace of mind. Being firm, but fair is quite often a good way around such issues i.e saying that you wish to resolve the issues amicably, but as you too have parental responsibility of your child, at the same time you will take the matter further if needs be.
SeparatedDads - 22-Dec-16 @ 12:44 PM
Lucius - Your Question:
Looking for some advice!! Having problems with my ex who's currently having our baby but is saying that as I'm not in the picture I can't be involved. After kicking me out of her car. We've not spoke since. Been 4/5 months ish. I've seen a lawyer and a mediator but so far no luck.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. It may take a while to get things underway. If your ex refuses to register you as the father on the birth certificate, then you can apply for parental responsibility and access to your child through the courts. If you cannot affor the hefty legal fees, you can self-litigate, please see link here . Plus, get a reduction in court fees, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 22-Dec-16 @ 11:25 AM
Two questions if possible. 1) When I have my daughter for the weekend do I have to tell my ex that I am leaving the house with her? Only asking as I went to take our daughter to see her sister which is an hours drive away and my ex demanded that she had everyone's number and address just in case, I understand tell just in case bit, I said that if anthing did happen you would be informed. Question is "do I have to give these details out"? 2) I have started a new relationship, we spend 5 months getting to know each other first before we said we was going out as she had kids too and we wanted to make sure it was right first,the next step was to introduce them to each other which we did saying we was just friends not going out,the kids git on better than we hoped. My ec found out before I could talk to her, anyway she's now saying that I can't take my daughter for a sleep over at my new partners house as my daughter needs to get used to it, I understand this and wouldn't pit her in any situation she wasn't happy with. I have talked to our child about what's happening and she's fine with it and wants to stay over. Can I take my daughter with me for one night or do I have to listen to her mum?
JasperGav - 22-Dec-16 @ 2:00 AM
Looking for some advice!! Having problems with my ex who's currently having our baby but is saying that as I'm not in the picture I can't be involved. After kicking me out of her car. We've not spoke since. Been 4/5 months ish. I've seen a lawyer and a mediator but so far no luck.
Lucius - 21-Dec-16 @ 6:23 PM
Boys - Your Question:
Hi,I need some advice if you could please, my partner has been split up from his ex for nearly 5 years, they have a 10year old boy together.For the first 3 and half years we travelled 5 hours every other weekend for visits, eventually we were allowed for him to stay with us. My partners ex was unstable for a while and caused a lot of problems for us, I also suffered post all depression after having both my daughters which also caused problems. His ex has met someone else and the problems stopped for a while it then it got to saying when we could have him, we needed to supply clothes for him and wouldn't send him with anything. The whole time we have paid as we should have, used most of our money travelling up and down, In fact our girls went without a lot so we could see him but never had any respect. Father's Day approached and my partner didn't get a phone call or message, which upset him greatly and with me being ill I got upset myself. When he did speak to his son he was treated awful, I did shout and tell his son off which stopped me being able to have any contact. My partner tried to keep contact but unfortunately they haven't seen each other for over a year now!My partner has tried to get in contact, with his son and his ex but text messages are not answered and when has called they are not answered either. My partners mother still has contact and when asked if he wants to speak to his dad he says no or not sure if mum will let me.My partner is desperate to have contact with his son but just does not know what to do now as they have moved and my partner or his mother haven't got their address. Any help or guidence would be amazing, thank you

Our Response:
As specified in the article, your partner would have to apply to take the matter to court for contact. Alongside his C100 contact form he can apply for a C4 form which is an application to the court for an order for the disclosure of a child's whereabouts. The court will put a trace on his ex, to allow him to apply. If your partner cannot afford the legal fees, he can self-litigate, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 21-Dec-16 @ 2:12 PM
Hi, I need some advice if you could please, my partner has been split up from his ex for nearly 5 years, they have a 10year old boy together. For the first 3 and half years we travelled 5 hours every other weekend for visits, eventually we were allowed for him to stay with us. My partners ex was unstable for a while and caused a lot of problems for us, I also suffered post all depression after having both my daughters which also caused problems. His ex has met someone else and the problems stopped for a while it then it got to saying when we could have him, we needed to supply clothes for him and wouldn't send him with anything. The whole time we have paid as we should have, used most of our money travelling up and down, In fact our girls went without a lot so we could see him but never had any respect. Father's Day approached and my partner didn't get a phone call or message, which upset him greatly and with me being ill I got upset myself. When he did speak to his son he was treated awful, I did shout and tell his son off which stopped me being able to have any contact. My partner tried to keep contact but unfortunately they haven't seen each other for over a year now! My partner has tried to get in contact, with his son and his ex but text messages are not answered and when has called they are not answered either. My partners mother still has contact and when asked if he wants to speak to his dad he says no or not sure if mum will let me. My partner is desperate to have contact with his son but just does not know what to do now as they have moved and my partner or his mother haven't got their address. Any help or guidence would be amazing, thank you
Boys - 21-Dec-16 @ 12:19 PM
Veryconfuseddad - Your Question:
Hi there, I was wondering if you knew anything about what I should do, about seeing my children. I've got a child from an ex n I see that child most of the time since we live in the same country together. But I want to know what's the best way to see my other child, by another woman but she lives in another country with our baby n her child from a another relationship. I know they can't just move here to be so I can see the baby, now I have no other way of seeing the baby. I've seen him about 3 times this year. And me and his mum will not work out, please help!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You would have to attempt to get a court order to see your child. However, dependent upon the country where your child is living, it can be a tricky process as it would have to involve an international court and international family law is costly. I can only suggest you seek some legal advice in order to explore your options.
SeparatedDads - 19-Dec-16 @ 12:26 PM
Hi there, I was wondering if you knew anything about what I should do, about seeing my children. I've got a child from an ex n I see that child most of the time since we live in the same country together. But I want to know what's the best way to see my other child, by another woman but she lives in another country with our baby n her child from a another relationship. I know they can't just move here to be so I can see the baby, now I have no other way of seeing the baby. I've seen him about 3 times this year. And me and his mum will not work out, please help!
Veryconfuseddad - 17-Dec-16 @ 3:19 AM
Maz - Your Question:
Hi please can you helpMy partner and I have battled with his ex wife (over five years but due to cost not divorced) for some time.He has gone right weeks of not being able to see his son and has just about had enough l.His ex wife is a massive game player and has messed us around for weeks and is using the child for many reasons. We have tried talking and barge ing with her but her behaviour towards us has lead us to have to have the police involved. We don't have a lot of money as we have other children but obviously want to see his son. I'm just wondering what the court costs are if we represent ourselves vs if we had to have a solicitor? Many thanks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Mediation is the first port of call to suggest to his ex, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. Please also see costs here. If your partner's ex refuses mediation, then you will have the green light to apply to court, in which case your partner can represent himself, please see link here and he may also get help with court costs if he is on a low income, please see link here and here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 12-Dec-16 @ 11:53 AM
Hi please can you help My partner and i have battled with his ex wife (over five years but due to cost not divorced)for some time. He has gone right weeks of not being able to see his son and has just about had enough l. His ex wife is a massive game player and has messed us around for weeks and is using the child for many reasons. We have tried talking and barge ing with her but her behaviour towards us has lead us to have to have the police involved. We don't have a lot of money as we have other children but obviously want to see his son. I'm just wondering what the court costs are if we represent ourselves vs if we had to have a solicitor? Many thanks
Maz - 11-Dec-16 @ 11:07 AM
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