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When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 22 Aug 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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Hi My ex suddenly stopped me seeing my son 2 years ago. I've never missed a payment for him and tried everything including emails phone turn up at door. Get others to try talk to her. All rejected or blocked. She now has a new husband and 2 more kids I myself have now 2 more kids but cant afford court or know what to do. I literally feel like I've got no help and support to try see my son. She doesn't like me and that's her reason and then tried to tell my family member that our son suffers stress being o ly 7 is in her eyes down to me. I'm running out of ideas and it's not helping with my current state and joy
Bren - 13-Aug-19 @ 2:28 PM
My husband and I had to fight for custody of his daughter 7 years ago and not a penny if CMS has been paid to him in all this time and it doesnt look lime we will ever get it. We are now going through it all again with my husbands son whos ex cheated on him but is messing him around with access to his daughter. As a woman I am disgusted with how so many women use their children as weapons whilst stating they are putting them first. As Grandparents we are also denied access even though I cave up full time work to look after our Grandchild. Something needs to change so that good Dads have fair and regular contact with thwir kids, how else will this pathetic cycle be broken?
Karma - 9-Aug-19 @ 8:56 AM
Reading what other fathers go through makes my situation feel like nothing. I simply have an arrangement to see my children every fortnight (Sat-Mon) which I stick to without fail. However, my ex feels she can amend this whenever it suites her. This was put in place in Feb2019. So there have been approx 13 weekends when they should have been with me. On 6 of those occasions she has changed the arrangement, resorting in me not seeing my children. Therefore going a month without seeing them. As I said, it is nothing in comparison, I have read some comments where men have gone months without access, some where they see them regularly but more like a baby sitter than a father. Regardless, it feels there is very little to support fathers in these situations.
Vrai - 5-Aug-19 @ 1:13 PM
I am Portuguese and I have been in the UK for a year and at this moment I am separated from my daughter's mother. My ex-partner and daughter are in the UK for 6 months. what I want to know since I am out of work right now and I want to go back to portugal and my ex partner and I have not come to an agreement what I can do to maintain my rights over my daughter and what I have to give to my daughter's livelihood
Oliveira da silva - 4-Aug-19 @ 12:56 PM
Need some urgent advice please.. I'm a disabled man in a wheelchair, and 5 weeks ago My wife made false allegations again of DV, she did this to me in 2012,but was dismissed by the police. Now 7 years on she's done it again. Long story short, I've now had a non-molestation order on me, to get me out my adapted home. What's the first thing I do to get to apply to see my children??? What forms do I need to get etc??? Thank you guys anyone please advise me..
Daren - 4-Aug-19 @ 7:57 AM
My Ex Partner is not allowing me to have my daughter of 3 years old overnight because she thinks my daughter won't want to. I have access to her but feel i'm more of a babysitter than a father at times because i only have her from 10am to 5pm. She has no reason for this other than to cause me distress because i feel like i'm failing as a father. I have a loving, safe home so what is the problem? Further more she is moving 150 miles away in September and taking my daughter with her obviously so day access will become unpractical for me but she is still refusing me to have her overnight. I've got a mediation consultation next week to start down the legal route. Hopefully it can be sorted out of court but i'm ready for court if it comes to that. Any bit of advise would be greatly appreciated.
Hedgehog - 4-Aug-19 @ 3:03 AM
Hi looking for advice really. My partner is being harassed for extra money every month even tho he pays CSA on time every month. He gets abusive messages calls etc if we don't have the money. We have offered to take his child out to shop for extra bits for her but no the mum wants it in her bank account,we don't trust she is using the money for the child. My partner works so hard for his family and getting this thrown at him every month is soul destroying. We don't earn a lot of money ourselves. The guilt is setting in for him and scared she will stop contact. I've told him he should just ignore her messages but is hard. He has his child every other weekend and holidays. He buys her new clothes and shoes all the time. And gives her pocket money. He can't block mum on phone as needs to stay in contact incase of emergencies. Do we just keep ignoring the messages? We are very confused and stuck on what to do. Thanks
Bee - 3-Aug-19 @ 10:50 AM
I’m paying a substantial amount every month to me ex and all of a sudden before visiting my 18 month old daughter tomorrow she has emailed me advising I can no longer see her. Obviously devastated. What action is best to take? Stop paying? Solicitor? Advice please. Very upset and stressed out Daddy.
Scottie - 2-Aug-19 @ 6:03 PM
Where is the justice for good men. Equality should work both wayshow are men supposed to be good fathers when they are denied. It seems mothers can be as vitriolic, nasty, abusive as they like and it's acceptable but a man just has to open his mouth and he's abusive, passive aggressive, controlling etcstop weaponising the children for your own ends
Broken hearted - 1-Aug-19 @ 9:10 AM
If a male stops a female having access to their child, the state calls it domestic abuse and the authorities are quick to react, if it is a female stopping a male, as we can see, that is seen as acceptable behavior by the state. The law is neither fair or equal and men are at a massive disadvantage when it comes to family law, it is the law that needs changing, not simply making applications through the courts after the fact, all that does is make it appear the broken system is actually working for all, it isn't. Pressure your MP's and do not allow yourselves to be used as a blank cheque book/ sperm donor by unscrupulous women, some of whom usethis as a lifestyle choice. I had custody of my son however I was informed by the CSA some years ago it wasn't really there for men to claim against women,unbelievable really, I was working so it made little difference to me however I was a believer that parents should contribute. She visited rarely and never helped with childcare between my shifts, our son was 4 years old at the time. Roll on 7 years, she became interested when he was big enough not to need care and she wanted him with her, he went as he was old enough to make that decision, I was hit with the CSA threat within weeks despite never having any contributions from her for years, that's women for you. My son became a latch key kid left to his own devices from 7am until 8pm during the week and I couldn't do a thing about it. If the child is old enough to make a decision, ie around the age of 12, it is pretty pointless fighting it so don't waste your time, my ex threw money at him to get him there and then threw my money at him via the monthly handouts once he was living with her. As I said, there is a lot of inequity, the system needs changing, this is where your efforts should be aimed.
Muttley12 - 18-Jul-19 @ 2:35 PM
@kee12.i am not a drug addicted or a alcoholic .I do have a criminal record .i walked away from my (only daughter) with help from her( mother) with (orders) .there comes a point you just have to let go (it is what is ).i am sure her daughter blames me for everything anyway with help from her mother. so it’s officially time to move on I can’t deal with people like her( mother) just the thought off it gives me chills. (Correction it’s best to walk away in some( situations )mine is one off them ).other wise I would end up in jail gods truth ).
C.laurie - 18-Jul-19 @ 5:11 AM
Just wanted to reply to the gentleman who said he was self representing. My new partner has won all cases where he hasn’t had a brief) this is because they cannot treat a layman like a fellow lawyer and have to be polite. The judges and those there should work to ensure equity so don’t pay for legals they are all in cahoots anyway you will get a bette deal going yourself. Don’t let the jargon fail you, the worst is adjurnments delaying time with the kids. Ultimately all you men who think you can’t see them again unless you are drug addicts, alcoholics or have criminal records that are recent then you should fight for access because your child will never forgive you for walking away and taking the path of least resistance. Us women want to control things and it’s not right where a child is concerned it’s highly proven children with both parents have less issues in later life. Do not give up
Kee12 - 14-Jul-19 @ 11:23 PM
My ex partner denied me seeing my boys a few months after splitting up. Now she has a non molestation order in place afterlying holy hell about me.iwent court with no solicitor in 1st time visit. (But she has been visiting the court without me being even notified since november last).im basically in.the last few weeks of needing to attend court again and still have no help from solicitor also my funds are not the best for this situation.I feel really low and anxious because of all this and with the clock ticling im running out of time. I live stoke and need help quick. I rang alot of solicitor they asking for too much money or they fully booked for august or they dont deal with family law.
Loz - 14-Jul-19 @ 1:41 PM
Hi there.. my ex gf and I were together for 10 months in that time she got pregnant. We broke up about 2 months before my son was due and hes now 3 months old. She has denied me access to him I have never seen a photo of him or anything.. I'm currently taking her to court for shared custody. She is saying lots of lies about me that I'm violent and dangerous.. I have never been to jail never been in trouble with the police I have a brand new condo in a safe nice neighborhood. I was involved in all the appointments she didnt leave me I broke up with her and asked her to leave and now she wont let me be a part of my sons life at all.. shes 20 and I'm 31 what can I expect in court .. with out proof of her allegations against me will she be able to keep my son from me? Can I sue her for emotional distress I want to fire everything at her that is possible. Someone please help me out with a little advice.
Justin88 - 1-Jul-19 @ 4:49 AM
@chris b.the gods truth with my situation[ i don't care ]that i don't see my only daughter .and mother well she best stay well clear me[ gods truth].i will never[ forgive her or speck to her again gods truth]and if she ever confronted me there will be [trouble] so if she ever reads this take what i say as a [serous warning ].and i wish her and children the best in life she has my permission to change her daughters surname legally if they wish .
c.laurie - 29-Jun-19 @ 9:23 PM
I have 2 sons and a daughter and my separated wife has refused all access to me as well as making completely false allegations to the police and the court to obtain a non-molestation order. She is doing everything in her power to ruin me and my job. It is killing me not seeing my children I have been to mediation but she refuses to go saying the kids dont want to see me. This breaks my heart as we were so close. They are 12, 10 and 8. I was forced to go into sheltered housing so she can keep the house.
Chris b - 29-Jun-19 @ 12:05 PM
My ex has stopped me seeing my son in order to claim full child maintenance how can this be allowed ,what rights do I have , can I report her to anyone on thisas is this not kidnapping, i want to see my child ?
hendo - 27-Jun-19 @ 9:12 AM
I’m a single dad of 1. I have a child with the devil it seems, she is only happy to let me see my child when I make her feel like I’m interested in her or when myself & my partner of 5 years are on a break. The mother has many different partners around my child, has verbally attack my partners child & physically attacked my partner twice. Now I haven’t seen my child for about 2 months. Previously it’s happened for a year. She has poisoned my child against my partner also. I don’t have a job atm tongue transitioning into another trade but what can I do? Financially I’m not capable to pay for court
Ben - 20-Jun-19 @ 2:21 PM
Iv got 3 daughters with 2 different woman my oldest 2 mother stopped me from seeing them since my youngest was born (1month old) now my youngest daughters mother has stopped me seeing her I think it's to hurt me knowing I'm hurting not seeing my other 2
Deanobeano - 19-Jun-19 @ 6:15 PM
@Familia CoParenting My partner (on his behalf as he doesn't use a computer) has just been in court for the second hearing trying to get access to his child. His ex partner did not turn up. She's continually asked for supervised contact centre access but when the judge suggested it at the last hearing, she refused because the closest contact centre is too far away and she's not a good driver, apparently (there are bus routes and train routes from where she lives). What happens if she continues to deny access in a contact centre? Does it mean he just won't be able to see his child again?
StressedandConfused - 7-Jun-19 @ 2:02 PM
So, I get contact with my two kids.. Sunday till Tuesday, 2nights and 3 days, but I want to be to have my girls till wedensday,, so the custody will be split between me and my ex partner.. how do I go about doing this as I have asked my ex and she has refused. Because she thinks she will lose out on child maintenance money..???
Scott - 7-Jun-19 @ 11:21 AM
the stone cold hard truth is i will never see my daughter again .but [i tried with all my heart to see her i can honestly say that] .when you are up against a ex like mine its near impossible and even in todays day and age mothers still have all the power .but i feel my slate is clean i god damn tried i swallowed my pride and ill feeling i have for her mother and tried to see my daughter .when inside i wanted to throat punch her mother .but i didn't i listen to her stupid mother ramblings and acted like a little girl on the phone and guess what i still never got to see my daughter .[but on the whole big picture i guess it was meant to be this way thats why it turned out like this] .[so good luck to all the dads out there i hope you have better luck at seeing your children then i did] .stay strong and keep fighting to see your children and one day the system might change and give dads fair go to then keep fighting .
chriso - 26-May-19 @ 1:03 AM
Hi , My boyfriend is in prison (nothing child related, not great but I need to be honest to get the correct advice). His ex had previously let the children visit him once a month with their nan. His eldest (13) made contact with me and wanted to meet me. I contacted her mum to make sure it was ok she reluctantly agreed. Me and daughter get on great and she has told me all the awful (lies) things that have been said in front of her and her sister (aged 7) now the little one isn’t allowed to speak to her dad on the phone or visit her dad. I have requested that we all meet up so youngest can get to know us all with her mum there (who has threatened me with violence on numerous occasions) and she initially agrees then just doesn’t answer the phone. I don’t want to involve the eldest so I don’t mention it to her I just want to know if their dad has any rights to see his youngest as he’s missing her so much :(
Nic - 20-May-19 @ 10:28 PM
I offer free advice to anyone going through this situation, and can also help should the matter end up in the Family Court. Happy for anyone to contact me :-)
Familia CoParenting - 20-May-19 @ 8:19 PM
I have 2 children. 2 & 5. they are my angels! 381 days ago I came home to an empty house. My wife had taken the kids and disappeared. I've spent a year going through court and now have the right to access but she is refusing to let me unless its supervised as she feels I am incapable of looking after them. Although I love looking after them and regularly have my niece as I like going out and doing things with her! Anyway, I arrived for contact last week and the agency I was using hadn't told either of us that it had been cancelled. So she let me have the first video call from them in months. The children are always asking after me and shower me with 'I love you's on the phone. Now I am stuck at square one again. I am not allowed to contact her as she has a non-molestation in regards to me. I just want to see my daughters and shes making it difficult. She could quite easily let me see them but shes making me drag myself through contact centres. Even during the final hearing the judge said he sees no reason why I can't see them. I have never been violent towards my ex partner or my children but she says I am intimidating and shes worried I want to run away with them! I can't do that I love where I live and my job and friends and family! During my first CAFCASS meeting I agreed to the children living with her as she is a wonderful mum who always puts the children first. Right now all I want to do is see them as its been so long! Any help would be greatly appreciated, I will pay with beer!
Criptoh - 20-May-19 @ 4:26 PM
Hi,please everyone I need your advice, I am going court for PSO order and cafecase involves too,they said until they making their decision about my ex-partner and does he is ok to see the kids it was better to not have any contact in place. Which is I felt sorry for him and without letting anyone knows 4 time I show him my kids and he was happy to see them too. I had a call from cafecase yesterday and she ask do you have any contact in place ,I said no because I scared .she said my husband was there and he said I am cheating on cafecase and court and he was trying to win the court ,what is happening now if They now I laid,are they going to take my kids away just because I let him to see them ?
Jasmine - 17-May-19 @ 2:18 AM
Can’t believe it I’ve been seeing my girls 7 and 11 for the three and a half years me and my ex have separated and out of no where because she doesn’t like my new partner who has been in the kids lives for three years she has just stopped me from seeing the kids. Going through mediation does anyone know how long it could take we have a wedding in August and I just know she won’t allow the kids to attend as bridesmaids
Jimmy - 7-May-19 @ 10:51 PM
My ex partner lives at home with her father and she wont let my 5 month old daughter stay overnight with me whilst she goes out instead choosing her father to take care of of my daughter as she says its so it doesn't confuse my daughter. I see my daughter 3 times a week so i don't understand why she won't let me have her overnight in my opinion she will be much safer staying with me instead of at home when her mother will of had a few drinks and wouldn't be in a fit state to look after her if she woke up during the night or whatever. I would just like some advice on wether I'm wrong for being upset about this situatuon or what I'm saying is right all I have is my daughters best interests at heart
Joey - 4-May-19 @ 7:19 AM
My ex made allegations against me when I told her we weren't going to get back together (she had been using the baby to come to my house everyday when I moved out) and resulted in a non-mole based on her account compelety ignore the witness who told the truth in court, I tried to appeal but the process is so confusing I failed to do so and gave up. Two years later I'm still not allowed to see the baby. My ex makes new allegations all the time, even though I don't know anything about her or my daughter, I don't even know where they live. Caffcass want me to do a DV course but I don't meet the criteria as I've never abused her or threatened her, so when they ask if I did I can't say yes. My ex complained in court last time that I kept dragging her there, even though she has had me in court 6 times trying to get non-moles extended with no evidence and that was only the second time we had met for child arrangements. My ex changed the babies name with out permission and got her ears pierced. I'm at a complete loss as to what to do next. I'm beaten by the system and just want to see my daughter, but it feels so hopeless as I'm up against lies. Even things she said I did while we were together which I have texts, video etc.. to prove things didn't unfold in that way, the courts and cafcass have no interest in.
Keithcharles - 29-Apr-19 @ 3:13 PM
Hi I have a problem, I have a daughter and she is one year old. My problem is my girlfriend's mother doesn't allow me to see my daughter because am still a student and I didn't pay any damages, but I do maintain my daughter.so I don't know what to do and I can not afford to loose my baby, I love her with all my heart, pls her me
Mufunzi - 27-Apr-19 @ 8:00 PM
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