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Unsupervised Contact: Taking Along Family Members

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 8 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Unsupervised Contact Family Contact

If you've been granted unsupervised contact by the court, can you take other family members with you? Can the courts or the other party stop you?

Nobody actively wants to be separated from their children, or even have the contact prescribed by another party. Unfortunately, when relations between two separating couples have broken down to such a degree, courts have to intervene to preserve the relationship between child and parent. One method of doing that is through a Contact Order.

What is a Contact Order?

This is when a Family Court prescribes what contact a parent can have with a child of the relationship. The types and ways that a court can impose a contact order are as widely ranging as you can imagine. The aim will be to safeguard the interests of the child, while still preserving the 'presumption of contact' that parents have. From Direct to Indirect contact, Supervised to Unsupervised contact, the courts will make a decision based on the competing interests of each party involved in the proceedings.

Unsupervised Contact

This is exactly what it sounds like. The court that made the order has stipulated that you do not have arrangements in place to have contact supervised by another, such as a Social Worker or neutral party. Or possibly, in a place stipulated by the court, for instance a contact centre. This does not extend to taking the child out of the country on holiday or removing children beyond the contact period. Unsupervised contact orders can still determine whom contact is with, and this is where problems often arise. This is not to say these issues cannot be resolved.

Who Can Come to Contact Sessions?

Simply, those who have not been refused permission to attend by the court are likely to be able to attend contact. Before the Contact Order was granted this would have been discussed between each party. If there was an objection to be raised, it could have been brought to attention in meetings or in negotiations.

Can the Court or Another Party Stop me?

The short answer to this is yes. In some instances, there may be a reason where a court or another party feel that an individual or a number of people will not be allowed contact with a child. Be prepared for this group to be your close or extended family. In order for this to be made official, the contact order will be referred back to the court for alteration or it will be part of the original order, it will be made a condition of contact. This decision will be made in the best interests of the child, as their welfare is the primary consideration of the court. The decision to not allow contact between a child and another individual is no reflection on any party personally, the court has to consider the child's welfare and in some circumstances this will mean curtailing access to individuals.

What if it Goes Wrong?

Contact between you and any child or children should be a wonderful time to ensure you are still a central figure in your child's upbringing. Should the contact order fall into any difficulty, the main consideration should be to resolve the situation amicably or in court. Any party found to be using a child as a vent for frustration will not be taken lightly. If you are in doubt about whether or not a child should be having contact with a particular person, ask! If you feel that the reasons given are unreasonable or unjustified, talk to your family solicitor and see what your options are, the situation may still be able to be sorted amicably, it may require further intervention.

Forging a positive working relationship with an ex-partner is just as important as the relationship with your child. This will help the child feel comfortable and assured if they are not being used as a pawn in what will be a difficult and uncertain time for everyone.

Remember to enjoy contact with your child; this is time for just you and them to ensure that your bond remains strong. Try to resolve any difference of opinion in the most amicable way possible and if you are unsure, ask.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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[Add a Comment]
Andy - Your Question:
My friend is trying to gain access to his daughter and constantly being disrupted by his and her new partner. He got a non-supervised contact order for two hours in a contact centre which lasted two weeks because she accused him of harming the daughter and when social services cleared him she blamed contact centre. Contact was re-established but at a public childrens play centre. Now she refuses to leave and brings her 2 year old son and says she's entitled to be there. Her partner also turns up and says he has a right to be present. My question is: Does non-supervised contact mean just one-to-one contact and can the mother and partner be told to leave or does he have to go back to court?

Our Response:
A solicitor's letter from your friend to the mother of his child outlining the terms of the agreement may work here. If the court order says non-supervision, then his ex is breaching the order by being present in a situation where the court has agreed she does not have to be. However, if his ex continues to insist on being present, then your friend would have to refer the matter back to court.
SeparatedDads - 9-Oct-17 @ 11:56 AM
My friend is trying to gain access to his daughter and constantly being disrupted by his and her new partner. He got a non-supervised contact order for two hours in a contact centre which lasted two weeks because she accused him of harming the daughter and when social services cleared him she blamed contact centre. Contact was re-established but at a public childrens play centre. Now she refuses to leave and brings her 2 year old son and says she's entitled to be there. Her partner also turns up and says he has a right to be present. My question is: Does non-supervised contact mean just one-to-one contact and can the mother and partner be told to leave or does he have to go back to court?
Andy - 8-Oct-17 @ 1:40 PM
My son has had 3.5 days access for over 12 months and because of a disagreement at the weekend his partner is refusing access unless he does what she says - however I can still have access as long as I don't let my son see the baby - can anyone help
Rosieposie - 28-Mar-17 @ 9:32 PM
Jonno - Your Question:
Girlfriends ex husband forced her to put her youngest as his on birth certificate.no probs has been obtained but a contact was put in place prior to his name removal off birth certificate.he is no longer on birth certificate and court refusing to take away contact order.where do we stand on getting contact order revoked

Our Response:
Your only option is to apply through the courts. It will be up to the courts to decide what it thinks is in the child's best interests.
SeparatedDads - 8-Sep-16 @ 10:40 AM
Girlfriends ex husband forced her to put her youngest as his on birth certificate....no probs has been obtained but a contact was put in place prior to his name removal off birth certificate.....he is no longer on birth certificate and court refusing to take away contact order......where do we stand on getting contact order revoked
Jonno - 7-Sep-16 @ 12:22 PM
karen - Your Question:
My daughter went to live with another family member after my child was cruelly taken from me, iv tried everything to try and get more contact or even for her to come home. The courts said it was a six month care order. That was 56 years ago and everywhere I go to get help with trying to get her back don't seem to want to help atall. My sister told ss a lot of things that were not true and even the ss said they thought she was only taking my child in for the money she would get. There was no other things put by the court apart from supervised contact. I had my child with me for 7 yrs before this happened. I'm not even allowed to know where she lives. I feel really let down, I need to know if my child is ok. My sister refused to speak to me when all this happened and even stopped my 3 day week contact. Down to 1 day a week then to 1 day a month, I even had to give my child her Xmas present and birthday presents at macdonalds. My sister was allowed to bring my child down if my child wanted to, but she has never ever bout her to me. Now iv not seen my child for 2 yrs as I got a letter stating my child didn't want to see me.my child was scared that she would go to strangers if she upset my sister. N I believe this is the reason she chose not to see me. I'm desperate to find out how she is doing. I'm very worried that my sister may have changed my daughters second name to her name. I just don't know what to do anymore, my child and I were very close, it was just me and her together for 7 yrs, n we had a brilliant relationship, she is a very quiet polite child but I do worry. And members of my family on my mother's side refuse to tell me how she is. Have I got any rights????

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is very difficult to advise on. If Social Services and the courts have been involved then this means your case is more complex and we do not have the knowledge of your background case in order to answer. In addition this site is purely for general questions, not more specific ones. I can only suggest you seek some legal advice. The Family Lives helpline heremay be of help if you need someone to talk to directly and who may be able to point you in the right direction. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 6-May-16 @ 10:16 AM
That is meant to say 5-6 yrs ago in my comment
karen - 5-May-16 @ 10:49 AM
My daughter went to live with another family member after my child was cruelly taken from me, iv tried everything to try and get more contact or even for her to come home. The courts said it was a six month care order. That was 56 years ago and everywhere I go to get help with trying to get her back don't seem to want to help atall. My sister told ss a lot of things that were not true and even the ss said they thought she was only taking my child in for the money she would get. There was no other things put by the court apart from supervised contact.I had my child with me for 7 yrs before this happened. I'm not even allowed to know where she lives. I feel really let down, i need to know if my child is ok. My sister refused to speak to me when all this happened and even stopped my 3day week contact. Down to 1 day a week then to 1 day a month, i even had to give my child her Xmas present and birthday presents at macdonalds.My sister was allowed to bring my child down if my child wanted to, but she has never ever bout her to me. Now iv not seen my child for 2 yrs as i got a letter stating my child didn't want to see me.my child was scared that she would go to strangers if she upset my sister. N i believe this is the reason she chose not to see me. I'm desperate to find out how she is doing. I'm very worried that my sister may have changed my daughters second name to her name. I just don't know what to do anymore, my child and i were very close, it was just me and her together for 7 yrs, n we had a brilliant relationship, she is a very quiet polite child but i do worry. And members of my family on my mother's side refuse to tell me how she is. Have I got any rights????
karen - 5-May-16 @ 10:47 AM
@Joy - hopefully the courts will see through this. They are accustomed to this sort of behaviour and will not tolerate it and they are in favour of fathers seeing their children. You may be interested in our posting: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access here which tells you what you should do in this situation. There are also other pages such as How to Represent Yourself here, which helps cut the costs on legal fees.You/he may also find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful, as there are many parents going through exactly the same issues and can offer some great advice.
SeparatedDads - 28-May-15 @ 11:20 AM
My son and his partner have split up and they have a son of one year. My son has been an excellent father. She wrote letters to his boss telling lies to get him the sack, posted very inappropriate photos on his face book page via his old phone. She Won't let him see his son. We are going to a solicitor tomorrow but she is so twisted and sick she will lie lie lie to stop him seeing his son.. I keep reading about this and the way mothers lie to stop fathers seeing their children. I am sick with concern..
Joy - 25-May-15 @ 4:16 PM
Hiya I need help my mom has special guardian ship of my 3 year old son I have contact once a week all day my contact was only supervised cuz of his so called dad but he's no longer in my life what do I do about getting unsupervised contact so I'm able to walk the shop with him take him on the park not to b stuck in the house all day what's that for. 3 year old
tasha - 4-May-15 @ 12:55 PM
@Dave N - this link to our partner site Grandparents who are Denied Access may help you. link here.
SeparatedDads - 28-Nov-14 @ 2:23 PM
I'm a granparent, do i have any rights to see my granddaughter as my son's ex has stopped me from seeing her for no good reason?
DaveN - 26-Nov-14 @ 10:29 AM
I'm suffering the affects of an economic burden / disadvantage it's being going on now for almost three yearsI'm £17.000 in solicitor fees I'm asked to pay my ex partners legal aid costs £8000She has requested £1200 per month until the kids reach 16On top of CSA paymentsShe wants 50 % of the home the deposit was a 70/30 deposit me paying the larger amountShe's now forced the sale although I have paid every mortgage payment for 9 yearsI got a refund on my council tax for paying to much she wants half the refund although never paid a pennyAt present she's chasing £140,000 of what I have worked forShe will not work and has stated thisShe stays in a house worth £260,000 a present from her dadShe shows a £60,000 bank account a present from her dadAnd she's pleading povertyI'm facing BankruptyLoosing my jobAnd getting help for a depressive state I can't see any fun in life anymoreEven to the point of moving away from my beautiful children that I adoreBut my life is finished with this going onI have a new beautiful partner but I can't restI have had enough of the Family Law Act section 28 2006It's ruining life's and could end mineI don't know where to turnSolicitors and now an Advocat can't help they both say it's wrong but nothing they can doMy last case is a week on Thursday to where I will be told my punishment for having children There's no help in this country for fathers none
Brobb - 25-Sep-14 @ 1:16 PM
my ex partner left me in February 2014 she keeps sticking to surprised contact even though there's no grounds for this i keep getting accused of false allegations i had to brake contact because of this for 2 months as mediation was conducted mediation was a total joke they just sucked up to her i did not even get a fair say this women is totally dominating and controlling our relationship between me and my daughter then they just said stick to supervised contact as if the 30 minute private conversation never happened she wont even let her down mine but this was fine when we was together and after we split its only when i declined her entry in to the house that the house suddenly became a safety concern why does mediation allow women to say things like his dangerous because my little girl picked up a dvd thats why there's a need for supervised contact i know mediation needs to be none biased and fair but i feel not challenging her on this was biased and unfair seems like to me resident parent has total dominance and controlshe knows this and has admitted it and loved it i am currently unemployed they cut of legal aid what can i do i am getting so desperate i am honesty thinking of a pr stunt
concerned father - 15-Jul-14 @ 4:26 AM
hi i would like to ask a question please? My son is 4 years old, when i picked him up yesterday from school his left eye is BLUE BLACK AND RED!!! the teacher on the other hand has a little giggle while telling me that my son is going to have a blue eye... upon asking what happened 3 TIMES she keepslling me that i should ask my 4 YEAR OLD WHAT HAPPENED? i leave my child in her care yet i still need to ask my 4 year old? anyway never the less, i was not informed, no one called me to tell me anything only at 17:30 - 17:45 do i hear about this, my sons eye is instantly blue and has a long graze under his eye, the inside is a little red and even his eye lid where the eyelashes are is red!!! ME THE PARENT informs the principal/ owner of this she did not even know that it had happened...i need to know what i can do about this? please do you have any advise for me regarding this?i do not want to leave this, and i have been a nursery school teacher for 10 years before breaking away so i know the procedures you are supposed to follow but being a parent now i am not sure... yes i can move him to another school but then what is that going to help i need to to action against this place, my eldest son also complained that the teachers there were hitting him on the head with a hard cover dictionary over his HEAD while doing homework? aLL kids have a kids side and talk and misbehave but is this treatment allowed? thank you very much... Brends
Brends - 10-Jun-14 @ 8:15 AM
Can you please advise where I stand legally, My ex and I separated January 2014 and have 3 children together, 2,3&5. I've always supported my ex and my children and continue to pay for them now as I rightly should do but my ex is making things very difficult. I cannot see my children without her supervising even though there's zero grounds on which to base this ie no history or threats or violence etc. I get to see them once every couple of weeks for a few hours at a time even though my eldest daughter has stated numerous times that she wants to spend a full day with me and my son too. I have also been trying to arrange to have the rest of valuables collected for 3months now and keep being told she will sort out a day. I text to ask how the children are and get no reply or text to ask if I can call to speak to them at a certain time and when I do there's no answer, She has got it into her head that she controls the shots and that I must do what she wants but all I care about is the effect that this is having on our 3 children. Where do I stand legally ? I'm currently looking into mediation to try get some contract setup but some of my belongings are valuable and cost a lot of money to replace which I would rather spend on our children instead of replacing items that I have already bought once. It is beginning to feel like I'm still in the same controlling relationship I left over and I can't spend quality time with our beautiful children just me and enjoying our selfs because of her demands. Please can anyone help or is it another case of your just "the dad"
Max - 16-Apr-14 @ 11:28 PM
Hi my son had a lancshiresession against him involving a different child and now the mother off his child won't let him see her even with supervisor visit what re his rights please
Tina - 10-May-13 @ 10:57 AM
I have my daughter every other weekend for the full weekendand this is mutual agreement between me and the mother through solicitors and for the other weekend she makes my daughter go to her nanna and grandads and the reason why I went to solicitors was to have my daughter every weekend butthe mother said no and also have to share my daughter when it comes to holidays not only with the mother which I dont complain about its the fact I have to share with my parents and thats what she came to agree. but its got to the point where I dont want contact with the mother picking and taking her back as am sick and tired of the mother giving me crap and saying it in front of my daughter and pulling me down too so I was woundering is there any chance I can have an appointed person to pick my daughter then I meet them so I dont have to see the mother or would it have to be where the mother drops her off at a contact centre then I make my way to pick her up but I dont think theres a contact centre in rotherham I normally have my daughter from school on friday to sunday afternoon
queenie - 30-Jan-13 @ 4:48 PM
my son was with his partner for 11 years and they have split.they have a daughter aged 5. she is being very difficult with access giving him bout 4 hours at the weekend and dictating where we are able to take her and saying she is not allowed at our family home because my son has a new partner. i taking care of my grandaughter happened to go in a local shop and bumped into the new girlfriend and her children it was by accident and couldnt be prevented. this new girlfriend and children would never be allowed at my home why my grandaughter was here. we are only allowed to take her out on trips which is very costly and impersonalshe is denying father and daughter proper contact. my son earns over the limit for legal aid and cannot afford a solicitor they are so costly.what advice could you give me thank you
lizzy - 26-Sep-12 @ 6:01 PM
I have sole parental responsibility of my former husband's and my 3 children, aged 15, 9 and 7. This was granted due to violence and neglect issues perpetrated by my former husband. I have remarried and plan to re locate to the US for the forseeable future as my new husband is a US citizen, and his employment etc is in the US. The children and I lived in the US with my new husband for 6 months, during this time I actively supported the children to maintin a relationship with their father. I even gave their father money to travel to the US to visit them, he did not come and he did not ow tht the time is fasr approaching our return to the US, he is making threats of not allowing the younger 2 children to leave Australia. Can he do this? What can I do ? thankyou.
marg - 17-Feb-12 @ 6:43 AM
Hi i could really use some advice, my partner has a 2 year old with his ex, things got quite messy when she realised he'd moved on and stopped contact with my partner and his son, (She had a problem with me so i said i wouldn't meet there son until they decided it was time) she then got with someone new and moved in with him (all in the short space of a month) she then got back in touch with with my partner asking if he would like to see his son, and that she had moved an gave the new address my partner started seeing him again and everything was fine even letting him have his son overnight (first time ever) she then had a blazing row with his mother a few night before which resulted in her storming out of the mediation, the man at the mediation tried to contact her and so did my partner about their son and contact, she ignored them, then she finally got in touch and said she was seeing a lawyer so my partner did the same they managed to get contact back to start with just Saturday days she has since applied for a residential order and with that a defined contact order what does this mean ? can she dictate who and where my partner can see his son ? how long for ? and if that is the case what rights does my partner have regarding her new partner seen as though he is living with her now. appreciate any help as where both quite lost with the situation.
concerned partner - 11-Nov-11 @ 1:27 PM
My ex-wife (the PWC) is threatening to get an injunction to stop my new girlfriend (with whom I live) from having contact with my son. After browsing this site, I think she's referring to a Specific Issue Order.This stems from a very public and distressing tantrum she threw (in front of our son) when we arrived late (the one and only occasion) to collect him on an agreed weekend. We were all very upset by this, and my gf made the mistake of referring to my ex disparagingly within earshot of my son - who then became very upset again. This was about a year ago, and seemed to be water under the bridge - certainly from my son's point of view. The three of us (me, my gf and my son) talked about it together and he has stayed with us fortnightly since. He and she get on well and he always gives her a hug and a kiss on leaving after a weekend. Now my ex is throwing another tantrum and threatens to get "an injunction" to stop my gf seeing my son, citing the comment she made a year ago. This would obviously prevent him from staying with us for weekends, which would then have an affect on child maintenance (which I suspect is her prime motivation). What is the likelihood of success of her applying for a Specific Issue Order on this basis? What would I need to show to prevent it being successful?If I used a solicitor and was successful in defending it, would I be able to claim costs?
ayeff - 20-Jun-11 @ 12:08 PM
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