Contact Denial – What to do and not do
Contact denial is one of the most common matters dealt with in the Family Courts. It’s the most common reason a non resident parent reluctantly fills in the forms (usually a C100), pays their fee and sends it in.
The anatomy of contact denial
Right off the bat, let’s establish something fundamental.
Anyone denying contact between a child and someone who has PR for them without a court order preventing it is acting with no legal basis whatsoever.
Being the primary carer, resident parent, mum, dad, whatever doesn’t confer the right to tell someone who has PR for a child that they can’t see them.
The circumstance of how contact is denied varies however. There is no set pattern. Sometimes they haven’t met their child since birth. Or they had been permitted a sporadic and limited relationship which has ended. Often contact has stopped suddenly and without warning.
Why does contact denial happen?
And the justification for this? I don’t like your attitude. The kids don’t want to see you. You’re a bad parent. I don’t have to let you see them without a court order. I don’t like your new partner. My new partner is daddy/mummy. You’re not paying me enough cash. Or something else.
So…as a parent facing a scenario like this what you do?
The first step is do not delay. Doing nothing is just about the worst possible thing you can do. It won’t make anything better and it will quite possible make it worse.
In our experience things don’t get better on their own – they don’t `blow over’
Instead what happens is a a status quo of no contact is set and the contact denier feels emboldened that they are able to continue with this course of action without problems. If you do nothing they’re right of course.
No one cares about contact denial apart from you
And the longer you leave it the more irrelevant any kind of previous relationship you had becomes. Seriously…the court won’t care that you were the resident parent and it’ll care less the longer you do nothing/write a letter/organise mediation/compose your latest symphony.
The moment contact has been denied address it. Organise mediation ASAP. Organise it. Don’t text your ex to see if she/he will attend. Because you won’t get an answer. Or they might be able to make it in 3 months time. Maybe.
If the place is open now (Google is your friend) stop reading this blog right now and phone them. If it’s out of office hours do it first thing tomorrow. If it ends up in court you’ll be required to attend a MIAM (a `Mediation Information Meeting) in any case. And besides it’s always worth trying on the grounds that court should be the last resort.
If (or when because more often than not it either fails or doesn’t happen in the first place, you’ll need to submit your form to start the whole process.
But the take home here? Do not delay.