My Ex-Partner Denies Access To My Child – What Are My Rights?
1. What can I do if my ex-partner won’t let me see my child?
You should try and speak to your ex-partner if the arrangements you have agreed are not working. If you are not able to do this, you can consider trying mediation. A mediator, who will try and help you agree on how to work out arrangements for the child between yourselves. The best option for your child is always a harmonious out-of-court agreement. You will be required to attend mediation if you wish to start court proceedings for a child arrangements order. Before you can issue court proceedings, you will need to prove you went to an introductory meeting called a ‘mediation information and assessment meeting’ (MIAM). There are exceptions when you don’t have to go to a MIAM first, for example, if you have suffered domestic abuse.
If you decide to start court proceedings, you will need to explain in your application what your original agreements were and why they did not work. You will also need to inform the court of what new arrangements you think will work.
You can ask the court for a ‘child arrangements order’, which can determine:
• who your children live with and where
• when and how your children will see both parents
• who else your children will see, for example family friends and relatives
The court’s decision will be based on what they think is best for the child. The court will usually try to make sure that children see both parents unless there is a risk of violence or abuse.
2. Can a mother or a father stop the other parent seeing the child?
Your ex-partner cannot legally stop you from having contact with your child unless there are special circumstances. Neither parent has rights to restrict the other parent from seeing their child. The only exception to this rule is where the welfare of a child may be at risk. These concerns may be raised due to issues of criminal offence, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse or any other inappropriate behaviour which places the child at risk.
3. Can a child refuse to see a parent?
In certain circumstances a child may not want to have any contact with the other parent. Unless this is due to a reason which could affect their welfare, contact should be encouraged.
4. Are child arrangement orders legally binding?
A child arrangements order is a legal contract between the court and the parents of a child. Once issued, a child arrangements order is legally binding and if one party is not adhering to the order, it can be enforced at court.
5. Can I call the police if my ex-partner won’t allow me to see my child?
As this is a civil matter, the police will not usually get involved with these types of matters. They will advise you to obtain legal advice.
6. Do I have to go to court to get joint custody of my child/children?
You do not have to make a court application if you can agree the child arrangements between yourselves. However, if this is not possible, you will need to consider mediation and following this if you are still not in agreement, you will then need to make an application to the court.
7. How much does it cost to apply for child custody?
The court fee for these types of applications is £232. There will also be legal fees to consider if you wish to be legally represented in the proceedings.
8. Are there any special circumstances when mother can stop father from seeing the child?
A mother can only stop a father seeing their child if the child is at risk of exposure to circumstances or behaviour that presents a safeguarding issue. These concerns may be raised due to issues of criminal offence, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse or any other inappropriate behaviour which places the child at risk.
9. My ex-partner has abducted my child and relocated to another country – What can I do?
If you think your child has been abducted. Contact the police immediately. It is a criminal offence for a parent of a child under the age of 16 to take or send that child out of the UK without the consent of everyone with parental responsibility for the child.
The procedure for bringing your child back to the UK will depend upon which country they have been taken to. The UK has signed the 1980 Hague Convention. This is an international agreement between countries which makes it easier for an abducted child who usually lives in the UK to be returned here. If the country is a signatory, there are mechanisms in place to ensure the return of your child to the UK, so that a court here can decide arrangements for the future.
Unfortunately, there are still many countries which are not signatories to the Hague Convention.¬ ¬ if the country is not a signatory, your ability to secure your child’s return will depend on local laws and whether the courts in the country concerned wish to deal with the matter themselves. Proceedings in England such as wardship can sometimes assist to encourage the courts of the other country to order a return from abroad.¬ Other steps can be taken such as seizing assets belonging to the abducting parent.
Contact our family law solicitors about children matters today.
At Breakthrough Family Law Solicitors, we are specialist divorce lawyers with a high level of experience in all children issues.
We inspire trust and confidence in our clients by offering high-quality advice in a clear, straightforward and compassionate manner and working tirelessly to achieve the right result.
Learn more about child arrangement order forms and child law by clicking here https://www.breakthroughfls.com/divorce/child-arrangement-order/