Reasons to stop child contact
Many parents are faced with a situation where their contact has been stopped by the other parent. We will consider the reasons to stop child contact. Additionally we will also consider circumstances surrounding stopping fathers access to child and consider the question of can a mother stop a father from seeing a child.
Valid Reasons to stop child contact
Under English law child contact is not a legal right. With parental responsibility you acquire some legal rights and responsibilities. However, there is no automatic right to child access or child contact.
An unamicable breakup can involve emotions and resentment. Therefore as a result this can impact child arrangements.
In other circumstances there may be reasons to stop child contact as explained below. In other words one parent may prevent the other parent from seeing their child or communicating with them.
It is important to understand that child contact cannot be legally stopped unless there is a good reason to do so. In other words the reason will need to linked to having a detriment to the child’s welfare.
A few legal reasons that may be valid to stop child access include:
- If a parent or partner is engaged in any kind of criminal activity
- Any domestic abuse either towards each other or against others in the presence of the children
- Drug/alcohol misuse
- Any other inappropriate behaviour that puts your child at risk
Our child custody law specialists commonly see child contact being stopped where there is a lack of cooperation. For example for consistent contact times or handover points.
Invalid Reasons to stop child contact
A few reasons that may not be valid for stopping child access include:
- A parent refuses to pay child support.
- A parent is sometimes late picking up or dropping off the children (according to what a custody agreement or a court decision says).
- A parent does not see the children regularly, even though a custody agreement or court decision says that this parent will see the children regularly.
Equally if you are wanting to stop child access you should seek early advice before doing so to ensure your steps are protected by the benefit of legal advice.
Our family law specialist have helped hundreds of parents on both sides of fence and are always available to advise and assist.
Stopping fathers access to child
Following a separation, it is quite common for mothers stopping fathers access to child. However fathers don’t often recognise that they have the same rights as mothers. This means in terms of child access that they are entitled to have access to the child as much as the mother is.
In other words, a mother cannot stop a father who has parental responsibility from accessing their child unless they have a valid reason to do so and one which affects the welfare of the child as explained above.
If you are a father and your ex-partner is preventing you from access to your child then our child specialists can assist you in arranging contact arrangements. Contact our York Family Law office or any of our other locations for your initial consultation to understand your rights as a father.
Stopping access to a child when there is no court order
Where there is a child arrangement or child contact order in place a parent may only stop child contact if there is a risk that continuing this arrangement will affect the welfare of a child.
If permission from the court is not sought and access to a child is stopped then you can apply to the court to enforce the order in place. An enforcement order is an order made by the court. The family law court orders enforcement to ensure the parent in breach of court order complies with an order.
An enforcement order can be secured if a parent to the Order is breaking the terms i.e committing a child arrangement order breach. If the court is of the view that there is no good reason for a breach of court order then an enforcement order can be made which can be backed with penalties detailed below.
As mentioned above the court has a range of powers when they enforce a child arrangement order which are:
- An enforcement order or a suspended enforcement order
- Variation of the child arrangement order
- Referring parents to a separated parents information programme (SPIP)
- Order for compensation or financial loss
- Committal to prison, or
- A fine.
Our family law specialists are at hand should you wish to discuss the enforcement of child arrangement order and discuss how you can proceed should you ex-partner have reasons to stop child contact.
What can I do if child access has been stopped?
If your child access has been stopped then you should try to understand the reasons with and attempt to mutually agree for contact to be reinstated. It can help to involve an independent third party. Therefore our child custody law specialists often involve on arranging mediation at first instance if possible.
Mediation will only work if both parties agree to it otherwise it can be seen as a pointless exercise.
If you are not on amicable terms then you could try and reinstate contact by sending a formal letter to the other parent. Our child specialists can assist you in trying to re-instate any contact which has been prevented. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns and explore the options available to you in this difficult time.
If this fails, our specialists can assist you in either applying for a contact order if one is not in place. Alternatively, if a contact order is in place we can assist you in enforcing the existing order.
Similarly, where there are concerns surrounding a welfare of a child and you have a genuine reason to stop child contact we can assist you in varying any existing order or assist you in stopping your ex-partner from have any contact until the concerning issues have resolved.
— Q&A SECTION —
Can a mother stop a father from seeing child?
A question asked by many parents is can a mother stop a father from seeing child. A father has the same rights as a mother and contact cannot be legally stopped unless there are concerns that further contact could affect the welfare of a child. These concerns may be raised due to issues of criminal offences, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse or any other inappropriate behaviour which places the child at risk.
In summary the answer to the question can a mother stop a father from seeing child is no unless it affects the welfare of the child.
What happens if my child does not want any contact with the other 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. You could talk to your child to ascertain the reason for refusing contact with the other parent. Similarly you could speak directly to the other parent to try and maintain contact and discuss any concerns.
Ultimately if contact is ordered by the court it must be adhered to unless the court itself stops any contact. Therefore you as a parent must try and ensure contact continues to avoid the other parent from taking steps to enforce an existing court order.
You can rest assure that our child custody law specialists have helped many parents enforce and also stop contact; so no matter what your situation it will be familiar to us. You can arrange a free consultation to secure early legal advice on your options today.
Instead of stopping child contact can I vary the existing order in place?
Yes, an order can be varied by application to the court if the circumstances have changed since when the initial arrangement was ordered. Our child specialists can assist you in varying any terms of an order and are at hand should your require a consultation.
What are valid reasons to stop father seeing child?
One common question is what are the reasons to stop father seeing child? Under English law only if there is a risk of physical or psychological harm to the child. Therefore, if a father is late to the ordered contact or fails to pay child maintenance are no valid reasons to stop a father seeing child.
Arrange a free consultation to protect your child today
Our specialist have helped countless parents stop child access as well as regain access so no matter what your situation you can rest assure that we’ll provide you with a specialist that will be the right fit for you and your case!