Home > Legal > Contact Orders: the Process

Contact Orders: the Process

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 17 Jun 2017 |
 
Contact Order Contact Parents Child

As a devoted father, you will want to maintain a close relationship with your children. Hopefully, your relationship will remain amicable with the mother of your children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and you may find that you have to fight to see your children or alternatively, if the children live with you, then their mother may wish for contact.

There are a number of types of arrangements which can work for different families. The courts can make several orders under the Children Act 1989 in order to facilitate those arrangements where necessary.

The Courts are primarily concerned with the welfare of the child or children above everything else. Under section 8 of the Children Act, the Court can make a contact order.

A contact order specifies how often the parent who does not live with the child should see the child or children and the terms of that contact.

The Process

If you wish to apply for a contact order, the actual process differs according to your locality. You will need to make an application to either the County Court, the High Court or the Family Proceedings Court. A copy of the application is then served on the Respondent, who is commonly the other parent.

CAFCASS Officer

You will then be required to attend a hearing. At that hearing or shortly before, both parents are usually invited to attend a relatively brief meeting with a Children and Families Court Advisory Service officer (also known as a CAFCASS Officer). A CAFCASS Officer is someone who is experienced in dealing with conflicts regarding children. At this meeting, the Officer listens to both parties and sees if there are any areas of agreement.

First Hearing

During the first hearing, the Judge (usually a District Judge) will ask the CAFCASS Officer for advice (if they are present) and will identify the areas of agreement and also any areas in dispute such as visitation rights etc. This hearing is usually short in length and in most instances the parents may not even speak with the Judge.

Where no agreement is reached, the Judge may ask for a detailed report to be drafted by the CAFCASS Officer. This can take anything from three to four months and therefore, you may wish to request that the Court grants some contact in the interim period.

What Will the Report Detail?

The CAFCASS Officer will interview and possibly observe a number of things before reporting back to the Court. They will want to speak with both parents, possibly the school and may want to speak with family members. They may also wish to observe contact between parent and child in some cases. Depending on the age of the child, an Officer will speak to them alone to understand their wishes and feelings. The report is not “secret” and both parents get to see a copy before it goes in front of the Judge.

After this stage, there will be a further short hearing. A court will not always make an order. Most cases end at this point once both parents have reviewed the recommendations of the CAFCASS Officer and they decide to try the recommended contact arrangements.

What Are the Considerations?

When reviewing applications, the Court, Judge and CAFCASS Officer will take a number of factors into consideration with regards to the child or children’s welfare. These are:

  • What is deemed to be best for the child and the feelings and wishes of the child. This is considered according to the child's age and understanding;
  • How capable the parents (and any other relevant people) are of meeting the needs of the child or children;
  • Any harm that the child is at risk of suffering or has suffered;
  • The likely affect of a change of circumstances on the child;
  • The age, background, personality, sex and any other characteristics that the Court believes to be relevant; and
  • The child's emotional, physical and educational needs.

Final Hearing

Only if a parent does not agree to the recommendations, will a final hearing take place. In these circumstances, the Court hears evidence from the parents and any witnesses as necessary, before finally making a Contact Order.

It is important to remember that although this process may seem rather arduous and lengthy, the end result will be worth it. The most important consideration for the Court is what is best for the child. If you are a good father and want the best for your child or children, then you will be able to have contact with them in the end. Good luck and if you are fortunate enough to get the contact you need, check out our feature on coping between contact periods.

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[Add a Comment]
Cubanheels - Your Question:
My son's ex is beyond bitter when the relationship broke down.they have a 7month old son together.she vowed to ruin him and to date her efforts albeit extreme have been proven false allegations. Recent being accusing him of assault all charges were dropped and case thrown out of court but he has had no contact with his son. Is there an organisation to help tackle ex partners and their constant allegations I do not know how much he can take.help

Our Response:
You don't say whether the judge specifically said no contact would be awarded, or whether the issue of contact has not been dealt with. If the issue of contact was not dealt with in this case and if his ex is refusing your son access to his child and will not consider mediation, then he will need to apply to court for a C100 contact order. If your son cannot afford legal fees , he can self litigate, please see link here . If he can, some initial legal advice may help him to explore his options fully.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jun-17 @ 10:48 AM
My son's ex is beyond bitter when the relationship broke down.they have a 7month old son together.she vowed to ruin him and to date her efforts albeit extreme have been proven false allegations. Recent being accusing him of assault all charges were dropped and case thrown out of court but he has had no contact with his son. Is there an organisation to help tackle ex partners and their constant allegations I do not know how much he can take.help
Cubanheels - 17-Jun-17 @ 4:25 AM
My partner has an 10 year old son, They have always had a fantastic relationship but recently his ex has starting alienating his son against him. Sadly she is very clever and manipulative and now his son doesn't want to see him stating "no reason" He is about send off a C100 form but what if CAFCASS speaks to his son and he says the same thing? Will the court side with his son? All contact has stopped as his ex says that is what their son wants. He has wrote letters to his son but heard nothing back.
frustration - 5-Jun-17 @ 6:25 AM
Lisa - Your Question:
My estranged mother & stepfather & her new partner are contacting my ex partner who was abusive & controlling towards me- to try to arrange to see my 5 year old daughter when she has contact with him. We separated when she was a year old. My stepfather is a convicted paedophile & I believe my mums new partner is the same. I haven't had any contact with them in over 3 years after dying to go to mediation with my mother but she always made excuses not to turn up. She says she wants a relationship with my daughter but I have said we need to work things out without the men in her life - which she refuses to do! She makes excuses all the time & says I'm exaggerating. She's always sent my daughter a birthday card which I have ignored but this year she text my ex & asked him to collect it from her. He then went over there without me realising, collected the card & made arrangements for them to see my daughter next week! He later told me via text! His reasons are that he was always close to his grandparents & he feels our daughter should be too! But she doesn't know them, they are manipulative & abusive & I don't want them near my daughter at all!!! I was abused as a child by a boyfriend of my mothers which she let happen & when I told her she threatened me to keep it quiet or else I'll bring 'shame upon the family' I don't think she'll ever change. What are my rights? Can I get a court order preventing my ex communicating with them & preventing them seeing my daughter????

Our Response:
Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on, such as preventing someone from having contact with your child, please see link here. If, as you say, the grandfather has been convicted of abuse to children, it is highly likely a court would award the order in your favour.
SeparatedDads - 23-May-17 @ 2:07 PM
My estranged mother & stepfather & her new partner are contacting my ex partner who was abusive & controlling towards me- to try to arrange to see my 5 year old daughter when she has contact with him. We separated when she was a year old. My stepfather is a convicted paedophile & I believe my mums new partner is the same. I haven't had any contact with them in over 3 years after dying to go to mediation with my mother but she always made excuses not to turn up. She says she wants a relationship with my daughter but I have said we need to work things out without the men in her life - which she refuses to do! She makes excuses all the time & says I'm exaggerating. She's always sent my daughter a birthday card which I have ignored but this year she text my ex & asked him to collect it from her. He then went over there without me realising, collected the card & made arrangements for them to see my daughter next week! He later told me via text! His reasons are that he was always close to his grandparents & he feels our daughter should be too! But she doesn't know them, they are manipulative & abusive & I don't want them near my daughter at all!!! I was abused as a child by a boyfriend of my mothers which she let happen & when I told her she threatened me to keep it quiet or else I'll bring 'shame upon the family' I don't think she'll ever change. What are my rights? Can I get a court order preventing my ex communicating with them & preventing them seeing my daughter????
Lisa - 22-May-17 @ 8:18 PM
Kell - Your Question:
My friends ex partner has stopped his access with their son. (Their relationship broke down after she confessed to cheating on him whilst pregnant, a couple of months after the Childs birth, she then left him for the other man).My friend left his home for her & their son, provided her with a car & made sure she was financially taken care of. Initially she was happy for my friend to have regular, frequent contact as she was out a lot with her new partner but several months later she became unreliable & gradually reduced the contact until she stopped access all together (without providing any reason). Her new partner was playing the role of the father & my friend was left heart broken.After exhausting all other options he sought legal advice & arranged mediation, he attended several times but she didn't. He then decided to proceed to court but in order to hinder this she made several false allegations of harassment to the police, each where investigated & no further action was taken until recently. He received a phone call to say another claim had been made & charges would be brought against him. As if this wasn't devastating enough, his court date is not until after his sons 2nd birthday so he is distraught that he won't see his son on his special day. Is there anything he can do in the circumstances surrounding this case?Is there any way he could apply for a temporary order to see his son on or around his birthday, even for a short period? He would even be happy with supervised access, he just wants his son to know he is there for him & show him he loves him. He is an all round wonderful person but most of all he is an amazing father & this is such an unfair, distressing time for him.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If your friend has taken legal advice his legal representative will be able to advise him further on this - as much depends upon the circumstances surrounding the charges.
SeparatedDads - 19-May-17 @ 10:16 AM
My friends ex partner has stopped his access with their son. (Their relationship broke down after she confessed to cheating on him whilst pregnant, a couple of months after the Childs birth, she then left him for the other man). My friend left his home for her & their son, provided her with a car & made sure she was financially taken care of. Initially she was happy for my friend to have regular, frequent contact as she was out a lot with her new partner but several months later she became unreliable & gradually reduced the contact until she stopped access all together (without providing any reason). Her new partner was playing the role of the father & my friend was left heart broken. After exhausting all other options he sought legal advice & arranged mediation, he attended several times but she didn't. He then decided to proceed to court but in order to hinder this she made several false allegations of harassment to the police, each where investigated & no further action was taken until recently. He received a phone call to say another claim had been made & charges would be brought against him. As if this wasn't devastating enough, his court date is not until after his sons 2nd birthday so he is distraught that he won't see his son on his special day. Is there anything he can do in the circumstances surrounding this case? Is there any way he could apply for a temporary order to see his son on or around his birthday, even for a short period? He would even be happy with supervised access, he just wants his son to know he is there for him & show him he loves him. He is an all round wonderful person but most of all he is an amazing father & this is such an unfair, distressing time for him.
Kell - 18-May-17 @ 3:47 PM
LoopyLoo - Your Question:
Hi, my ex has got a unpredictable temper. We split when my son was 2 months. He is now 5 and a half minths. Since then he has been vile to me. I let him see our son 3 times a week. Last month he got in my face when I was holding him, last Sunday he called me vile names and punched my front door, whilst I was holding my son. I don't want him to stop seeing him I just want to do it in a contact center. I don't want him to have him alone as I don't trust him. He is now twisting it around and calling me selfish. But I just don't want him in my home and around our son as I don't trust him. What can I do?

Our Response:
If you cannot or do not wish to negotiate directly with your ex, then mediation may work for you, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-17 @ 10:25 AM
Hi, my ex has got a unpredictable temper. We split when my son was 2 months. He is now 5 and a half minths. Since then he has been vile to me. I let him see our son 3 times a week. Last month he got in my face when I was holding him, last Sunday he called me vile names and punched my front door, whilst I was holding my son. I don't want him to stop seeing him I just want to do it in a contact center. I don't want him to have him alone as I don't trust him. He is now twisting it around and calling me selfish. But I just don't want him in my home and around our son as I don't trust him. What can I do?
LoopyLoo - 2-May-17 @ 12:45 PM
Hi, I had contact through social services on a weekly basis with my 4 year old daughter unsupervised and overnight access, very recently I have been stopped from seeing my little girl due to me and my current partner been attacked in my own home I understand that this makes my home unsafe for my daughter but my mam and I have lost all contact with her and my daughters Mam says social services said that she wasn't allowed near me I have phoned social up and there is nothing on record to say I am a danger around my little girl I love her to bits she is my world is there anything I can do to regain my contact without going to court as that's a lengthy process and would like to see my daughter as it's making my mental health detiriate over the months of not seeing her
Tillysdad - 13-Apr-17 @ 12:51 PM
Long story short - my ex is not letting me see my son because I won't give her any money, in the past she has miss used the money because I would give her a lot every month which was for nursery as well as maintance - then found out that we was in ALOT of debt with the nursery because is wasn't getting paid every month and I have a bill of proff just don't have prof of what the money went on I just know it wasn't clearly the nursery. Then I picked my ex up on this once my son started school and now she demands so much a month or I won't see him so I did this for a couple of months then she wanted me to lie about a letter for her solisitor which I didn't feel comfortable doing so I said no and desided I wasnt going to give her any money until I have gone through the CSA so I know I am giving the right amount and the right way because she would always want it cash!! And the ammount she would demand was a lot for what wage I was on and other bills I had to pay I would be so short I would have to borrow money. But now my ex isn't letting me see my child until she starts to get money is that right? I am going to start a case with CSA But until then she's not letting me see my son ? Any advice or help please !!!!
Jack - 31-Mar-17 @ 8:36 PM
My daughter is turning 15 in April. She sees her father regularily, goes on holidays with him, spends 2 weeks for work placement with him, but has problems with his demands on when she sees him and where they go during this time. She is bussy at school and extra curricular activities and wants to mainly see her friends now. He threatens her to talk to me via his lawyer for violating the Court order by not upholding the Court Order. He sets out the schedule without asking her how this works for her commitments, birthday invites, Duke of Edinbourg commitments etc. I'm scared he is costing me more money in Court, she is worried she's getting me into trouble by not obeying him. I have an older daughter who is turning 19 soon and doesn't want to see him at all anymore. I'm trying to convince them that it is better to resolve difficulties with their Dad by meeting him and talking to him, but I feel I'm not doing them a favour... I hope you can advice us, so we can stop living in fear of his threats. Their relationship seems to have broken down. There is no trust left. Thank you very much
Kitty - 29-Mar-17 @ 10:05 PM
Tasha - Your Question:
I have a question my childrens father is refusing to come to see our 2 children on a regular basis. Completely refuses to make a regular agreement. I feel it is unreasonable for him to come when he feels like it sometimes being over a month at a time! Am I wrong to stop contact? Can I apply for a contact order of some sort he needs to stick to for the benefit of the children? I really don't have a problem with him seeing them. I don't understand the unnecessary argument this is causing. Any advice on this please??

Our Response:
The court will not force a non-resident parent to see their children, where the non-resident parent does not wish to. If you stop contact and your ex wishes to see his children, then he will have the option to negotiate an agrement with you directly, suggest mediation to try to come to a written agreement, or apply to court to push for a resolution.
SeparatedDads - 28-Mar-17 @ 12:36 PM
I have a question my childrens father is refusing to come to see our 2 children on a regular basis. Completely refuses to make a regular agreement. I feel it is unreasonable for him to come when he feels like it sometimes being over a month at a time! Am I wrong to stop contact? Can I apply for a contact order of some sort he needs to stick to for the benefit of the children? I really don't have a problem with him seeing them. I don't understand the unnecessary argument this is causing. Any advice on this please??
Tasha - 27-Mar-17 @ 5:24 PM
Desperatedad - Your Question:
I have a daughter who I see for four years and had her more than the mother. She then started having more access and moved with her and I found it hard to contact the mother. Me and the mother had a bad relationship and now I am allowed to see my daughter again but the mother wants to be present. After everything that happened in our relationship I can't trust the mother to not make things up about me as its only me her and my daughter and I would like to see my daughter supervised but without the mother present for personal reasons. She won't agree to her not being there unless in a contact centre so can anyone help me on how I would go through this process thank you

Our Response:
If you wish to see your daughter and your ex is not allowing it, then you would have to either suggest mediation and if your ex refuses, apply to court. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Mar-17 @ 2:41 PM
I have a daughter who I see for four years and had her more than the mother. She then started having more access and moved with her and I found it hard to contact the mother. Me and the mother had a bad relationship and now I am allowed to see my daughter again but the mother wants to be present. After everything that happened in our relationship I can't trust the mother to not make things up about me as its only me her and my daughter and I would like to see my daughter supervised but without the mother present for personal reasons. She won't agree to her not being there unless in a contact centre so can anyone help me on how I would go through this process thank you
Desperatedad - 21-Mar-17 @ 10:02 AM
De88 - Your Question:
Hi looking for some advice. Me and my ex partner split 1 year ago. I had my daughter every other weekend.Then my ex partner meet someone all of a sudden she bloked my number and stoped me seeing my daughter. I have filled the c100 form in to apply to court and waiting for a court date but only have I just found out that she is looking to move and I will never know were she has moved to. my friend seen it on house swap sites I'm worried she will move and I will never know we're to. is she allowed to do this??? Thanks

Our Response:
If you think your ex may move without your authorisation you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A 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. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. You may wish to seek legal advice regarding this and also gather as much evidence as you can that your ex intends to make this move without your authorisation (which is required if you have PR).
SeparatedDads - 17-Mar-17 @ 2:47 PM
Hi looking for some advice. Me and my ex partner split 1 year ago. I had my daughter every other weekend.Then my ex partner meet someone all of a sudden she bloked my number and stoped me seeing my daughter. I have filled the c100 form in to apply to court and waiting for a court date but only have I just found out that she is looking to move and I will never know were she has moved to. my friend seen it on house swap sites I'm worried she will move and I will never know we're to. is she allowed to do this??? Thanks
De88 - 12-Mar-17 @ 11:42 PM
Currently in the court process with my daughters dad. I've never stopped contact despite his ability to lie about daughters wherabouts and who she's been introduced to. He now wants our 5 year old to sleep every other weekend fri to sun at his partners 3 bed house she shares with her parents and her daughter. Our daughter doesn't know who any of these people are and never met them, including the partner!!! This would mean massive upheaval to her routine as she would have to miss her dance lessons which she loves and I've always payed for. She also has sleep problems, slept in my bed and has night terrors which I'm trying to work through. No doubt it's financial motivation behind this as he could legally deduct her maintenance down if he gets overnights as has done 3 times previously (he's in the army and lives rent free) worried sick about what could happen to her. Any help is appreciated!!
Amy84 - 19-Feb-17 @ 4:12 PM
SadDad - Your Question:
ADVICE PLEASE? I have been through the courts, have done courses, passed drugs tests and spent a lot of money on solicitors fees. I got a court order last September for a minimum of 2 hours contact every 2 weeks whilst we wait for a Cafcass report to advise on how contact can progress. My sons mum did not get back to my solicitors until a final warning letter was sent months later. Contact finally started in December. I have had 3 contact sessions and because of Christmas there was a 3 week period before our next session. That was meant to be today until I got a phone call from the contact centre saying that my son has a bug and that because my ex has gone back to work she can't make up the contact session and I can't see him for another 2 weeks! That will make it 5 weeks between contact sessions when the court order was for my ex to make my son available for contact every 2 weeks. 5 weeks is a long time between contact sessions, especially when my son is so young, I couldn't see him for 2 years and I'm trying to build a relationship back up with him. Is this acceptable because my son isn't well?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. I'm afraid you will have to wait a while and see whether she begins to make frequent excuses which would allow you to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced, please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do here. However, if you want to keep on-the-ball, so to speak, I advise you keep a diary of every contact arrangement missed, so that if you have to apply back to court, then you can prove your ex is deliberately breaching the order. A court will try to ascertain whether your ex is purposefully breaching the order, or whether the breach can be justified. Currently, it would be too early for the court to make this assumption. On another note, you could ask your solicitor to write to your ex reminding her of her obligations to the order, which may do the trick to prevent future breaches.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:49 AM
ADVICE PLEASE? I have been through the courts, have done courses, passed drugs tests and spent a lot of money on solicitors fees. I got a court order last September for a minimum of 2 hours contact every 2 weeks whilst we wait for a Cafcass report to advise on how contact can progress. My sons mum did not get back to my solicitors until a final warning letter was sent months later. Contact finally started in December. I have had 3 contact sessions and because of Christmas there was a 3 week period before our next session. That was meant to be today until I got a phone call from the contact centre saying that my son has a bug and that because my ex has gone back to work she can't make up the contact session and I can't see him for another 2 weeks! That will make it 5 weeks between contact sessions when the court order was for my ex to make my son available for contact every 2 weeks. 5 weeks is a long time between contact sessions, especially when my son is so young, I couldn't see him for 2 years and I'm trying to build a relationship back up with him. Is this acceptable because my son isn't well?
SadDad - 15-Jan-17 @ 2:13 PM
Hello, I'm a mum looking for advice! Your probably not expecting me posting on here but we aren't all bad! My story... I divorced my ex husband, he was very controlling and I didn't want my daughter who was nearly three at the time to use our relationship as a blue print to her future ones. I took the decision and it has been the toughest road I've trod. My ex actually made my daughter and I homeless through his bitterness at the divorce, this happened as I unfortunately legally exposed myself as I still thought we could do the right thing by our daughter and reduce the cost of our divorce, which in turn would give us both a better home for our daughter. Our financial split became court ordered including child maintenance, this was driven by him. At mediation we discussed access to our daughter. He wanted our daughter to live with me in the week but he would have her on a Wednesday night, I agreed to this. I wanted to split the weekends. My motive for this was she would have more regular contact with us both, we could both get involved with her hobbies. He didn't want this and insisted that we alternate weekends. As I was homeless I felt backed into a corner to agree and I believe this arrangement has been documented in the mediators notes but it's not listed as part of the court order. The reason he wanted alternate weekends is that his new partner lives three hours away. So he picks her up at 5pm on a Friday and hits rush hour traffic to drive there (the original agreement was he get her from school as we both work and there is less of an emotional pull for our daughter he changed his mind so I now have to juggle work) Our daughter is nearly 7 now, she wants to spend her time with her dad locally at his house rather than drive for hours, she even asks when we go on day trips are we going on the "big roads" she means motorways. His new partner is also telling my daughter that I hate her and her dad! My ex will not see any issue with this and just denies it and seems to be isolating himself from his own dad and family.I have actually arranged to meet my ex father in law so he can see his grand daughter. I have pleaded with my ex to stay locally more or get his partner to visit him to share the driving but he won't. My daughter can't do hobbies she wants to do as she misses half the courses, I've offered to pay for them if he takes her but he won't. He would rather waste 6 hours of his weekend driving her to a house she mainly sits in and plays on an iPad. I feel desperate as I can see things getting worse as our daughter gets older. She will want a life with her friends and I'll be accused of being obstructive. It feels like his last bit of control comes at my daughters expense. If my ex doesn't get his own way over all details he throws the 'obstruction ' card in. He will happily not have his daughter if it doesn't suit him. Any advice would be welcome as I do believe a child needs a mum and dad but how do I manage my daughter
Betty - 14-Jan-17 @ 3:56 PM
I have been in a relationship of domestic abuse and told no one, I finally left my wife/abuser but we have a daughter together she is 6. I have tried to arrange to see my daughter but her mother will only let me have her 1 or 2 days in the week, but often changes her mind and is very aggressive and abusive on the phone. I now don't live nearby and often she arranges and cancels visits with my daughter at the last minute leaves me out of pocket. I am still trying to work through what she did to me through the mental /physical abuse, I don't think I could manage mediation as I don't think I am strong enough to confront her and demand that I see my daughter regularly. but I do pay her maintenance every week. What options do I have? How much could this cost?What help is there?
Will Jones - 6-Jan-17 @ 3:54 PM
My ex boyfriend won't sign the application to change the child's surname though he made an affidavit is there anyway I can force him to sign?
Rosalia - 3-Jan-17 @ 10:18 PM
Hi My friend has a 8 month old son that he's been trying to have contact with. He broke up with the child's mother 6 months ago and it was not amiable at all. There has been lots of abusive messages and calls on her part and she has basically said that he cannot see his son ever again. My friend has only seen his son a handful of times as it is. I've tried to talk to my friend about seeking legal help but he doesn't have the finances or know where to start and is becoming more and more depressed.
DAISYCHAIN123 - 24-Dec-16 @ 6:00 PM
I need some advice really , my son and his girlfriend split up and a couple of months later she found out she was pregnant. My son went to every doctors,hospital midwife appointment and all scans, he was there when his daughter was born and is named on her birth certificate, the baby is 12 weeks old now and she is not allowing my son much time with his daughter. She says he can have her for 6hours 2 days a week and swaps and changes all the time. He is constantly being told what he can and can't do and where he can take her. He pays her money weekly by bank transfers and has bought lots of stuff for the baby all the way through the pregnancy . she says he can have her overnight soon but keeps saying she's not ready . does anyone know what is considered reasonable access ?? She is constantly out leaving the baby with people she lives with and won't let my son look after her. Any advice would be helpfull
Gem47 - 12-Dec-16 @ 5:23 PM
Hi my boyfriend has a date for a first hearing in December to apply for a child's arrangement order. Any idea what questions he will get asked as he has no sicitor and wants to be organised Thank you
Ems - 21-Nov-16 @ 8:23 AM
Frustrated Father - Your Question:
Mine is a relatively simple case.I was married to my now ex-wife for 7 years. We seperated 2.5 years ago (my decision) and divorced 1.5 years ago.We have a 7 year old daughter together.Factoring in what I left her with (in terms of joint assets) and what I have paid up until now in maintenance payments, I have paid more than 4x CSA guidelines in the 2.5 years that we've been seperated. I have always paid to support my child and have never missed any payments. I now pay through CSA (her choice to have control).In terms of visiting. I live with my partner of almost 2 years, a 1 hour drive away from my daughter. I have always made the journey myself to pick her up and drop her off every other weekend and I have her for almost half the school holidays throughout the year.The point I'm making is I've always been there physically and financially.There have been many issues through the past few years where my ex has been unreasonable where the description of "implacable hostility" fits really well.The issue I need some advice on is a fairly simple one. I have recently changed jobs and finish at 17:30 each day. I've managed to arrange to finish at 16:30 every other friday (the day I pick my daughter up), which means I should be able to pick her up at 17:45 and get her to my house around 18:45.My ex feels this is too late for her to travel, won't give her wind down time before bed (even though she goes to bed around 9:30 here as my partner has 2 similar aged children and we let them all watch a film together with snacks).She is really digging her heels in and now says that I will have to pick my daughter up on Saturday morning. This will have an impact on my time with her and will reduce the options of what I can do with her on that day and I think my ex's issue is very unreasonable. She is very unsupportive of my time with my daughter and seems to make my time with her as difficult as possible and create a lot of unnecessary obstacles. We have tried mediation but to no avail.I dont really want to drag this through the courts as it seems a ridiculously simple issue.Is there no service/agency who can give an impartial, common sense opinion on these matters to open the eyes of (sorry, but usually) mothers who are either intentionally or unintentionally using the child to hurt or control their ex partner?Advice would be greatly received.

Our Response:
I completely sympathise with your dilemma and it seems you're caught between a rock and a hard place here. But, you only have two options, mediation, please see link here and if your ex refuses mediation, court. It may seem like your taking a sledgehammer to the problem by proposing court, but if you say to your ex she is leaving you no option, she may see reason. A court will expect you to have considered/attempted mediation first in order to try and resolve the issue, before you apply. It may be that your ex may back down if she knows you are willing to take it to the extreme. However, dependent upon the type of person she is, it may fuel the animosity and she may retaliate by trying to deny access altogether. Unfortunately, this is where you have to decide what you think is in the best interests of your daughter. In answer to your last question, unfortunately, these sort of mind games occur frequently between separated parents and the courts 'are' wise to this. However, it is also often very difficult to prove, especially if the other parent can convincingly justify their reasons.
SeparatedDads - 15-Nov-16 @ 1:01 PM
Mine is a relatively simple case. I was married to my now ex-wife for 7 years . We seperated 2.5 years ago (my decision) and divorced 1.5 years ago. We have a 7 year old daughter together. Factoring in what I left her with (in terms of joint assets) and what i have paid up until now in maintenance payments, i have paid more than 4x CSA guidelines in the 2.5 years that we've been seperated. I have always paid to support my child and have never missed any payments. I now pay through CSA (her choice to have control). In terms of visiting. I live with my partner of almost 2 years, a 1 hour drive away from my daughter. I have always made the journey myself to pick her up and drop her off every other weekend and i have her for almost half the school holidays throughout the year. The point I'm making is I've always been there physically and financially. There have been many issues through the past few years where my ex has been unreasonable where the description of "implacable hostility" fits really well. The issue i need some advice on is a fairly simple one. I have recently changed jobs and finish at 17:30 each day. I've managed to arrange to finish at 16:30 every other friday (the day i pick my daughter up), which means i should be able to pick her up at 17:45 and get her to my house around 18:45. My ex feels this is too late for her to travel, won't give her wind down time before bed (even though she goes to bed around 9:30 here as my partner has 2 similar aged children and we let them all watch a film together with snacks). She is really digging her heels in and now says that i will have to pick my daughter up on Saturday morning. This will have an impact on my time with her and will reduce the options of what i can do with her on that day and i think my ex's issue is very unreasonable. She is very unsupportive of my time with my daughter and seems to make my time with her as difficult as possible and create a lot of unnecessary obstacles. We have tried mediation but to no avail. I dont really want to drag this through the courts as it seems a ridiculously simple issue. Is there no service/agency who can give an impartial, common sense opinion on these matters to open the eyes of (sorry, but usually) mothers who are either intentionally or unintentionally using the child to hurt or control their ex partner? Advice would be greatly received.
Frustrated Father - 14-Nov-16 @ 9:00 PM
Anton - Your Question:
Ok, I have a 3 year old daughter me and her mother split this time last year as a result of me finding out she cheated (wasn't going well for a while, and I wasn't perfect either.) which resulted in me then asking to see my daughter thought other arrangements, I wasn't getting any replies as I questioned her about it, so I carried on messaging, 2 days later had the police at my door and got arrested, I got 8 weeks and 18 month suspended sentence. anyway the courts said I had to use a local contact centre to see my daughter, so I looked into it, found one payed all the fees it took 7 months after I made the request for her to send the letter back, now she agreed on 1 hour every fortnight which at the time was fine as I was in a bad place with what had gone off, after awhile SHE got them to ask me if I would like 2 hours a fortnight I said yes, now. this year I have seen her 15 hours! she keeps ringing the contact centre THE DAY BEFORE saying shes going on holiday, now this has happned a good 10 times now on my time of 4 hours a month. now theres more to it, she was controlling, I have logs of miss calls of over 100+ when av been unable to answer abusive messages to (all logged) my questions are.1) can I take this back to court regarding my sentence?2) what can I do next? (i don't current work)this just seems really unfair, I lost everyone because we had mutual friend. any advise would be greatly appreciated. thanks Anton

Our Response:
It sounds as though your ex is in breach of the court order. If she is cancelling frequently and the day before, then you may have a case to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced, please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here which should answer your question. The contact centre should have a list of missed appointments which you can use for evidence. I hope you have also kept a list yourself of the amount of times there has been a cancellation etc. Before you apply to take the matter to court, you could perhaps ask a solicitor to send a letter outlining the terms of the order and that if she does not adhere to them, you will then apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 27-Oct-16 @ 12:29 PM
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