If your partner has left you, you might be extremely concerned about how this affects the access you have to your children. This is no doubt even more true if your relationship has ended on bad terms, especially if you were the one to end it, or if you’ve had an affair.
But whatever the circumstances of your breakup, so long as you are not a danger to your child, you have an absolute right to see them. That’s easier said than done, and we know that.
So what do you do about getting access to your children if you’ve separated from your wife?
In this handy guide, we hope to help you.
You have a legal right as a father to see your child
In the UK, the responsibility of taking care of a child rests on two parents, as this is still believed to be the best way of ensuring the child is brought up in conditions that lend themselves favourably to maturity and development.
You, as the father, have an absolute right to see your child, unless contact with you is likely to be detrimental to their wellbeing.
Reasons you can be stopped from seeing your child
If the mother of your children is stopping you from seeing them, she has no doubt identified one or more reasons why seeing you would be bad for your kids. Legally, these reasons must be:
- situations that expose the child to criminal activity,
- exposure to abuse and mistreatment,
- predisposal to drug and substance abuse,
- exposure to violence,
- conditions that limit the child’s access to rights, like and education.
If the mother of your children can prove that any of the above would result from exposure to you, the court will stop you from having contact with your child. You will not be allowed to see them until these issues have been fully resolved.
If the above conditions do not exist, the mother of your children cannot stop you from seeing your child.
Any parent has the right to make contact with their child, and the child also has a right to meet either of their parents.
My wife is turning my children against me
If your wife doesn’t want you to see your children and she doesn’t have a valid reason to stop you, she might try to turn your children against you. They might do this by being so negative about you to the child that it becomes the child’s opinion. This is called parental alienation.
For a long time, parents got away with turning their children against their ex spouse out of spite, but the Family Courts know now how detrimental this is to the wellbeing of a child, and they are not afraid to tackle it.
Possible signs of parental alienation include:
- your ex-partner reduces your access time to your child,
- your children make excuses about not visiting,
- your ex provides you with limited information about your children,
- your children are reluctant to show you affection,
- your child treats you differently when the other parent is present.
How do I stop my ex wife from removing access to my children?
If you think your ex partner might try to stop you from seeing your children, either by trying to prove you are an unfit parent or by alienating you through manipulation, it is really important that you get a lawyer involved as soon as possible. A lawyer will help you:
- reduce conflict and prevent children from being used as a weapon,
- get a reasonable amount of quality time to spend with your children on a consistent basis, thus avoiding a situation in which not seeing you becomes ‘normal’,
- to deal with the conflict without emotion, as this can make the situation worse. If you tackle things in the wrong way, you’ll be accused of harassment or abuse, which can lose you access to your children.
If you want to remain a steadfast parent for your children through divorce, you should remind them that they are loved by both parents, be age-appropriately honest about what is happening, avoid blaming your partner (even if they are blaming you), let them know they can talk about their feelings with you, and listen to them more than you speak.
Whatever happens, you absolutely must try to stay calm through the whole process. Do not be tempted to slag off your partner or send angry or abusive messages or emails. Remain calm and contact a lawyer.
We know that this is an incredibly difficult and frantic time for you. JMR Solicitors are here to help. Our specially trained lawyers will guide you every step of the way to make sure you have fair access to your children.
Call 0161 491 3933, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.