At A S Solicitors we understand how distressing it can be for a parent who is prevented from having contact with their child. Our aim is to reinstate contact as quickly as possible ensuring the child’s interests are paramount and normality is restored to their life.
What Can I Do About It
Attempts to agree a fair and consistent contact arrangement plan should be made between both parents making sure the child’s best interests are considered first.
If initial discussions are not possible or cannot be agreed, your first step should be to send a registered letter to your ex-partner telling them to reinstate contact between you and your child. You should state in this letter that by refusing to allow contact, you will have no option other than to resort to legal action. Make sure that you do not forget to take a copy of the letter for your records and keep proof of sending.
If the letter proves ineffective, you will have no alternative but to go to court and ask for an Interim Contact Order. To obtain a Contact Order you will need to submit the correct form to the Court along with a statement setting out the facts of your case.
What is an Interim Contact Order?
An Interim Contact Order will allow you to have contact with your child until a full Court hearing resolves the matter. If your ex shows no opposition to the interim contact it a Court appearance may not be necessary, however, this is unlikely at this stage.
Will The Interim Contact Order Allow Me To See My Child On My Grounds?
The timeframe before the full hearing can often be six months or longer. A Direction Hearing will take place in between this at which point you must ensure the Court is aware that contact should be regular and not become detrimental to your relationship with your child. The Court will always consider the child’s best interests first and in most instances, will allow some limited contact, although, it’s unlikely to be overnight contact (allowing the children to stay overnight with you) if your ex-partner objects. It may even be ordered you have supervised or supported contact.
The Directions Hearing
At the Directions hearing the Court will consider the issues in dispute and Order directions. This may consist of a CAFCASS Report, Social Services Report, Drug and Alcohol test and arrangements for Interim Contact. If you had contact with your child before contact was denied you should provide evidence of this to the court, as it will bolster your argument.
The Final Hearing
The Court will rely heavily upon the report carried out by the CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) Officer. The CAFCASS Officer will interview you, your ex- partner, your child (if they’re old enough), as well as carers and teachers etc prior to the full hearing. Generally, the Court will accept the report’s recommendations regarding contact arrangements. 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.
I Have a Court Order But Ex Still Won’t Allow Me To See My Child
If your ex-partner refuses contact in defiance of a Court Order you must inform the Court as it is a clear breach and is punishable by a fine or even imprisonment. Before taking this step we would advise you to settle the matter outside the Court as it may make relations between you and your ex-partner worse and may have an adverse effect on the child.
AS Solicitors, James House, 382 Lee High Road, London, SE12 8RW 0208 318 4345