Divorce, when children are involved, is often difficult. The high emotions mixed with a real or perceived need to protect children from the psychological fall out can make it a very difficult time. If there was a lengthy period of trying to keep it together for the kids,’ the bottled up resentment (and what could be years of angst) could be unleashed, making this difficult process even tougher.
Sadly, this can lead to the weaponising the kids and the restriction of communication has been used as a method to emotionally hurt one partner by the other time and time again. Due to the wording of the law, this can become a very real problem when carried out by he mother and can leave the father feeling hopeless but there are paternal rights which are legally recognised and enforceable.
The associated frustrations can lead to rash actions, which could be used against you in the future. Try to remain level headed and logical, your right to access can be legally reinstated.
Responsible steps to take
Start with a letter; keep it formal and clear; start with the date from which access was denied, and ask to have the ability to see your children. Ask for a written response and explain that if access is not reinstated you will seek out a Family Solicitors Emsworth. Keep copies of this letter and any that they may be received in the future as they are the foundation of your case.
If there is no response at all, it’s time to apply for an Interim Contact Order. The ICO is obtained by a court but is a formality for most people. It permits you access to your child at set times until long-term agreements are made possible in court at a later date. The restrictions on an ICO are harsh, limiting access to supervised visits in public places, only for a few hours at a time and with no overnight stays. This can feel truly unfair to a father who has done nothing wrong but the courts have to protect children from abuse (even if there has been none recorded) above the rights of the father.
Staying within the limitations of the ICO is important, as breaching it would be used to restrict future visitations. A full hearing can take more than 6-months, longer than a standard ICO; mentioning this at the hearing itself will typically result in the ICO being auto-renewed or ‘ticking over’ until the time of the full hearing, so you will not lose access.
The hearing itself will be heavily influenced by a children and family court advisory and support service report. This is carried out by interviewing family members, teachers, relatives and friends, to establish the context of the relationships of all the parties. It will make recommendations on visitations to the court which is highly likely to be followed. Then, a court order will be issued.
If this order is breached, and access is restricted by the mother, this would result in an abduction case, which would lead to a review of custody and possible prosecution.