How to legally stop someone from seeing your child in the UK
There are some circumstances when you might want to stop someone – perhaps an ex-partner – from having contact with your child. Here is everything you need to know about how to legally stop someone from seeing your child in the UK:
Can I Stop My Ex From Seeing Our Child?
As of 2014, UK family law is based around the principle that it’s best for a child to have involvement with both parents. Everyone’s priority in these cases should be the welfare of the child.
This is why it’s only usually possible to stop an ex-partner from seeing your child if it means the child will be put at risk in some way. This might be because of:
- Domestic abuse – if it can be shown that your former partner mistreated or abused your child or you or that your child is at risk of abuse.
- Criminal activity – if being near your former partner would or does expose your child to criminal behaviour. This might mean they have a criminal record or ongoing criminal activity can be shown.
- Drug or alcohol misuse – if your ex-partner misuses alcohol or uses illegal drugs.
- Limiting the child’s rights – an example of this would be if your partner prevented your child from their right to education by not sending them to school.
- Any other behaviour that could harm your child – anything inappropriate that could harm or risk causing harm to your child.
The courts will also expect you to have explored all other options first – including mediation (an official process that involves discussing the disagreement with a neutral third-party professional present) – unless domestic abuse or violence are potentially involved.
What If My Child Is In Immediate Danger?
In circumstances where you believe your former partner or another family member is an immediate and grave risk to your child, you can apply for a “Without Notice” order (this used to be known as an “ex-parte” order).
If the court agrees to this, a proper hearing will follow and the person you are making the allegations against will have the opportunity to defend themselves.
What Are Invalid Reasons For Preventing Child Contact?
Only those reasons listed above are usually counted serious enough to warrant preventing a child from having contact with one of their parents.
Many parents suggest reasons for preventing child contact that don’t actually count. The most popular of these are their former partner’s:
- Failure or refusal to pay child support (this is a different legal issue)
- Failure to comply with a Child Arrangement Order (such as dropping a child off late or not seeing them at the appointed time)
Can I Keep My Ex’s New Partner Away From My Child?
Again, there would have to be serious concerns as to a child’s safety before a court would think about intervening to keep your ex’s new partner away from your child.
In these cases, it is always a good idea to take a step back and examine your motivations for seeking this outcome. Only if the reason is a true concern for your child’s safety because your ex’s new partner meets one of the criteria above (such as being violent or abusive) will this be possible.
Can I Prevent My Ex From Having Overnight Visitors While My Children Are In Their Care?
This is sometimes possible – it’s often referred to as a “morality clause”. This can be placed in child arrangements you are having written up (in the form of a Child Agreement Order) either by agreement or because the court requires it.
The reason that these clauses exist is to try and protect the child from seeing a large number of temporary romantic partners. There is also the worry that the child could become attached to any or all of these partners and suffer when they leave.
Again though, it is important to be very reflective about your own feelings and motivations in such cases. Not least because you will be similarly limiting your own ability to have overnight visitors.
It is also worth knowing that these clauses can be exceedingly difficult to enforce.
Does A Parent Have The “Right” To See Their Child?
As far as the law is concerned, parents do not really technically have a “right” to see their child. The law is designed to protect the welfare of the child, not the parent.
Yet a parent does have some sort of rights relating to their child. This is because they have what is known as “parental responsibility”. However, it is better to see this as a duty to your children that also comes with some limited rights attached.
If spending time with both parents is good for the child’s welfare – and the only circumstances where it could be argued it might not be would be those concerns listed above – then the court is likely to encourage contact with both parents to continue.
Can You Stop A Family Member From Seeing Your Child?
The only relatives that could be said to have any kind of legal right relating to a child in the UK are the parents. Even grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see their grandchildren.
This means that if you are worried about any particular family member seeing a child, you don’t “have” to let them. They also do not have a “right” to see them.
How To Legally Stop Someone From Seeing Your Child In The UK
If you are satisfied that the conditions listed above are met, the next step is to get some expert legal advice.
Solicitors Near Me can find you the ideal family law solicitor to discuss your case with for FREE and with no obligation.