Can My Ex Stop Me From Seeing My Children?

If and your partner are separated or divorced, they may try to prevent you from seeing or having contact with your child. There are steps you can take to prevent this.

Please note: this article describes the legal position in England and Wales. Not all the information applies to Scotland or Northern Ireland.

If you break up with your child’s other parent, ideally, they can continue to see both parents regularly. Hopefully you will reach a mutual agreement on who they should live with.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. You may find yourself in a situation where your ex-partner stops you seeing your child. If so, what can you do about it?

Can I call the police if my ex stops me seeing my child?

Unfortunately, in some cases the circumstances of an ex not allowing another parent to see their child can be a risk to the child's safety. Sometimes, a parent can violate a court order that's already stated contact arrangements by stopping the other parent from having access to the child.

You are able to contact the police and request support if you feel your child is at risk or a court order has been breached.

What can I do if my ex-partner doesn't want me seeing my child?

Your ex generally cannot stop you from seeing your child unless a court decides that there would be a risk of harm to them. This might not help if your child is too young to make their own decisions about seeing you. But legal action should generally be treated as a last resort. It is expensive and can create more bad feeling between you and your ex.


The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service may be able to assist you. They can help you make a Parenting Plan to determine types of contact. This will allow both you and your ex to agree times for contact. This plan might involve overnight stays, or meeting for a certain time each week.

If you are left with no choice but to go to court, you will usually be expected to have tried a Parenting Plan first.

2.Parenting Plan

A Parenting Plan can also help more generally with matters relating to your child’s education and healthcare. Under the Children Act 1989, if you have parental responsibility, then you have the right to a say in these matters.

A child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility, and a father usually will. However, parental responsibility does not automatically mean that you have a right to see your child.

3.Contact Proposal

If your ex will not cooperate with a Parenting Plan, another option is to get a solicitor to write a letter setting out your contact proposals, and negotiate with your ex. This will make it clear that you are treating the matter seriously and are prepared to pursue all avenues.


Alternatively, a family mediator may be able to help you reach access arrangements with your ex. Although if there has been domestic violence or other abuse in the past, mediation is usually not suitable.

A mediator is a person trained to help reach an agreement by talking with both parents. A mediation agreement has no legal force. But a solicitor can help you make an application to court to make it legally binding.

Legal aid to use a solicitor for family law matters is only available in very limited cases. So, you will probably need to carefully consider the legal costs of using a solicitor.

5.Child Arrangements Order

If other methods are unsuccessful, you can apply to court for a child arrangements order. These replaced residence orders and contact orders; if you already have one of these older orders, you do not need to re-apply. A child arrangements order will set out how often you can see your child, and where.

The welfare of your child will be the court’s main concern. The court will not grant an order in your favour unless doing so would be better for the child than no order at all.

However, courts view a child’s contact with their natural parents as important. They will usually only refuse access completely if they believe there is a possible risk of harm to the child.

Court action does not guarantee the outcome you may be hoping for. Court hearings will often decide that your child should stay with you for part of the time, or that they can spend time with you each week. In some court cases, they will allow only indirect contact such as phone calls.

What to do if your ex doesn't return your child?

When an ex-partner fails to return a child as agreed, it can be a distressing and complex situation. Understanding the legal and practical steps to take in such circumstances is crucial. You'll want to ensure the child's safety and uphold parental rights.

Can a dad refuse to give a child back?

The question of whether a father can legally refuse to return a child is a significant concern in custody battles. Exploring the legal implications and the rights of both parents in this scenario is essential. Resolving such conflicts is in the best interest of the child.

Can my child's mother stop me from seeing my child?

Issues surrounding parental access are common in separated families. Understanding the legal rights and limitations when a child's mother attempts to prevent access is crucial for fathers seeking to maintain a relationship with their child.

What can I do if my ex won't let me talk to my child?

Being denied communication with a child by an ex-partner can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. Discussing the options available to address this issue is important for parents who are facing difficulties in maintaining contact with their child.

If you're unable to reach an agreement or want legal aid in your child custody case, compare prices for family law solicitors near you.