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When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Dec 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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My ex husband and I got divorced 5 month ago. Everytime when he have his trun to have kids he makes excuses that he can't look after kids. What do I do in that case. Kids stay with me and usally we agreed kids can go to there dad every weekend .
Amazing - 4-Dec-19 @ 7:55 PM
My son found out 2 years ago that he had a son, through us investigating.But she had already put the new boyfriends name on the birth certificate as the father, she said she was 100% it was his (lies). She did let my son see him a couple of times but that was well over a year ago, she has blocked us from all social media but we have sent a few letters with no joy,legally can anything be done? Or would he be wasting his money he does not know where to turn help
Suzie - 2-Dec-19 @ 2:38 PM
@roch82.so all the (games in world that women wants to play with me won’t work gods truth ).because I know the (truth the gods truth) .and if they want to think I am suffering( mental health issues or committing fraud or autistic or suicidal) go for it they can think what they want .there is a (reason )I did nothing when I heard the child was raped because I know I am not the( bio father ).its not (my fight or child ).and if they think I am violent dangerous and should be sanctioned with the rest off my family well they have a (right to think what they want) .but the truth is I am as free as bird and live a fantastic life just the way I want to live my life .so the way I see things get step daddy to defend the child if she was raped or find the bio father he might do something .because it has nothing to with me gods truth .
C.laurie - 1-Dec-19 @ 1:06 AM
Hi. A family member has split for his girlfriend when she was pregnant. She had the baby and wont even let him see a pic( taunting him with pics of her and an emoji over her face) sick woman. Hes only 18 and shes 20something. Hes been abit of a problem teenager (as most are) social services as involved. They have been to court today and the cafcas as refused them to see the child. Not even in a contact centre. No DNA has even been done to confirm he is actually the father.(so maybe all this stress maybe for nothing. Why wouldn't they get that in place before any of this happened? Cant afford a solicitor either . Hes onv not on the north certificate. Just trying to find out if there is any other road to go down even just to get a DNA test for starters ?? TIA x They are so heart broken they are a loving family but hes just been penalised for having some issues mentally (like most of the other citizens of the world)
Roch82 - 28-Nov-19 @ 11:04 AM
@andrewfettes.i have criminal pastat (one time in my life) that’s what I wanted to be a (really good criminal gods truth )and when I spit up with child mother and didn’t have the pressure off children like been role model.i did just that (100 percent )I thought I had it made and this life (suits me )it was fun there was a lot off (cash money )easy days I thought and (show my family) I am a better criminal then them and I make (more money) and didn’t (get caught) .that was my mentality I had my brother and we where on the same page we loved it .truth is now I don’t like it so much but it’s very hard when you only have criminals for friends and family they think I am (old now changed got soft because I don’t run with them anymore .i just want to make honest living even if it’s just factory work on assembly line it’s not (much money) but it’s honest money .yeah it’s (boring )and sometime I miss not caring been wild doing whatever I wanted having cash money not working .
Terrence - 24-Nov-19 @ 10:44 PM
I have been split with my x partner for over two year and not seen my son for over a year I do have a job but can’t afford a battle in court with my x as I’ve just had a new born baby with my new wife I’ve done nothing but try to get contact with my son but she won’t have it she had a none mol against me due to her knowing I wasn’t a lad to take not being able to see my son in a nice way yes I do have a criminal past but not been in trouble for 11 years now I’m a honest person work hard an just want to see my son please can anyone help me with advice or poi g me in the right direction many thanks Andy
Andrew Fettes - 24-Nov-19 @ 8:49 PM
i just want some advice, my partner has not seen his son for nearly a year he is going through legal firms but it takes so long and there have been lots of delays in the process. He has been denied contact as his ex partner decided she would not let him see his son unless it was on her take it or leave it terms and she demanded rules were followed and if they were not he wouldn't be allowed to see his son. Most of these demands that were made were unrealistic and silly. When my partner and I moved in together his ex declared she was furious he would do such a thing without asking her first and while he is living with me he will never see his son again. She also demanded he better end our relationship and get his own house if he wants to see his son again. Its ridiculous. Neither of us have ever done anything wrong or caused grief for it to go to this her behaviour just changed towards him about his son suddenly. My partner is very depressed because of what has happened. He is fearful when he goes to court he will only be able to see his son at a contact centre for a few hours every few weeks and he does not want that at all. He used to see his son twice a week before it all broke down. Does anyone have any experiences or advice in relation to what happens when contact is re instigated or how long it can take? Or if his ex actually can control who he lives with while his son is in his care? Thanks for any help!!!
oliveH - 21-Nov-19 @ 11:19 AM
Is there any fathers (out there) that have been in my situation 10 years off no contact had (orders )on them that say I am (not allowed) to contact the (mother directly ).from the past to present.successfully end up getting to meet there daughter or son again ?.my matestell me it’s a (pipe dream and it’s not going to happen )but I am optimist .
C.laurie - 5-Nov-19 @ 12:32 AM
The reality is (I don’t want to be with the child’s mother )all I want is to meet my daughter before I die but with the time frame and not knowing the whereabouts off the child I think I will die before I ever get the chance to meet her gods truth .
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 10:23 PM
I don’t want to cause (trouble or conflict) to the the child’s mother and her partner .i fully understand that( 10 years is a long time) .but I am on birth certificate and I am the bio father and I think I have a (right )to meet my daughter .what do you people think?or is it to late ?
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 9:42 PM
I have no address no phone numbers no emails no social media .where do I (start how can I get to meet my teenage daughter ?).as I said before it’s been 10 years off no contact .as anyone been in this (position )and got the chance to meet there daughter or son ?.as I said before there was orders on me and court cases for threatening messages but it was just frustration so I know going though her mother is out off the question.what kind solicitor would I have to see for my situation?
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 9:05 PM
It has be done (legally )but it’s the (timeframe )that worries me (10 years )is a long time .i would like to meet my daughter at least once before I die .i just don’t know what to do .any advice would be good there was conflict between the mother and myself messages and a few orders so I don’t know if that makes it harder ?
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 8:44 PM
@warby.i miss my child even with the (time frame) It would be good just to meet( her ).i have no contact there is no (social media) where I could try to contact my daughter .its been 10 years off no contact her age is 14 or 15 .what legal process would I have to take to get the chance to meet my daughter ?and kind off money am looking at ?.i tried with her mother but it didn’t work and got myself in trouble .so if anyone as sum advice for me would be good ?.
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 8:25 PM
@warby.the relationship between the mother and myself is not good .i haven’t had contact sence my daughter was 5 she is 14 or 15 now .i,haven’t never gone to court for visitation I have gone to court over sending stupid messages and I follow the courts instructions to not contact the mother .how can a poor dad get to meet hes teenage daughter with this kind off time frame ?what is the process or is to late ?
C.laurie - 4-Nov-19 @ 7:59 PM
Hi. I have been denied access to my son since march. Before that is was meant to be every Saturday but that was always when it suited her. Relationship between us is not good to say the best. I had a friend with some legal knowledge to write us both up an agreement for us both to sign which she agreed to and was going to sign. One of the things she wanted was me to pay for a contact centre because been so long since she let me see him. I wasn't happy about it but I paid for it turned up and had my interview and told them she will still find an excuse for it not to happen and she did. She asked if any alcohol could be smelt they said the slight stale smell but not intoxicated or under the influence and no reason for meeting not to happen. She said no had left out back door. She as now said I after take her court or never see him again which she knows I can't afford any time soon. I have report from the centre. What is my best next step to take? Please help I and his siblings miss him so much. Thanks
Warby - 4-Nov-19 @ 5:58 PM
Hi all, i have just applied for court and await my date. I notice alot of you are worried about a solicitor and funds. The initial outlay is £215 for court. There is a charity called mckenzie friend and they are a charitable organisation of family solicitors that only charge if you want them to attend court with you. Otherwise, they will give you all the advice you need and even write a statement for you based on the information you provide. Do not be afraid to go at it alone. I will try and keep you all updated.
AsherzWatford - 27-Oct-19 @ 8:53 PM
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
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