In England and Wales, the general presumption is that both the mother and father of a child should be involved in the life of the child where it is in the best interests of their welfare. In this article we look at what are the reasons to stop a father seeing their child UK…
That means your partner can’t legally prevent you from having access to your child. Unless, continued access will be detrimental to the child’s welfare.
This applies to mothers stopping fathers from seeing their children as well as fathers stopping mothers from seeing children.
So, What Reasons Are There To Stop Child Contact In The UK?
It’s a fairly common question – How can I stop a father from seeing his child? (Or vice versa).
The reality is that a parent can only stop child contact with the other parent in specific circumstances. Where they are at risk of exposure to behaviour that would present a safeguarding concern.
The issues which would be relevant here are:
- Drug or alcohol abuse/misuse
- Domestic abuse
- Criminal activity
- Or any inappropriate behaviour that might put your child at risk
If any of the above safeguarding concerns apply then you have a legal reason to stop child contact. The courts will be sympathetic to your situation.
Because a parent has a right to see their child, as well as the child having a right to see both of their parents, it’s only in special circumstances where you can prevent a parent from having contact with their child.
What Can The Court Order When Stopping A Parent From Seeing A Child?
The court will decide based on a child’s welfare when they a considering whether to prevent a parent from seeing a child.
They might order a parent to stop from seeing their children entirely. Or they might make a decision based on the other options available to them. Which are as follows:-
- How long a parent is permitted to see a child for. Including whether overnight stays are allowed, or the duration of the contact (e.g. maximum of three hours)
- When a parent is allowed to see them. Such as during the week, at the weekends, during school holidays and at special occasions (e.g. Christmas, birthdays etc.)
- How a parent is permitted to see their child. Whether it is supervised, unsupervised, at home, or even at a contact centre
- The type of contact that is allowed. Including direct physical contact or indirect, such as letters, emails, phone calls, and video calls.
While the law promotes an active participation in their child’s welfare from both parents, the contact and access that a parent is granted can be either restricted or stopped entirely when the courts take the welfare of the child into consideration.
What Other Situations Are There Where A Parent Might Be Denied Access?
If a parent’s partner is abusive or violent, there are steps that can be taken to restrict the contact your child has with them.
This is a difficult situation because the parent has a right to see them but trying to resolve the situation without resorting to restricting their access is much easier in the first instance.
If you proceed through the route of attempting to restrict access, you’ll need to apply to the family court for a prohibited steps order. You would need to persuade the court that it’s in your child’s best interests not to meet their parent’s partner and you will need to explain what impact any contact could have.
You might also encounter a situation where your child doesn’t want to see their mother or father anymore or simply refuses.
In this situation, the first thing you should do is try to find out why that is the case. Particularly if there’s a genuine reason.
The legal system is firmly in favour of doing what’s in the child’s best interests. Welfare is the most important consideration they’ll make.
That’s why any issues should be discussed with the parent that your child doesn’t want to see.
If your child still refuses to see their parent, then an application can be made to amend the child contact arrangements But this can be a tricky path to navigate.
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