What options do I have if the mother of my child forbids me from seeing them?
For separated spouses, divorce proceedings and their aftermath can be extremely emotional events. It is a significant, life-changing decision that frequently involves strong feelings and sensations. Unfortunately, this could result in uncomfortable circumstances where former partners are unable to resolve their differences amicably. Sebastian Church Fees
It is common for mediators to address instances in which one spouse does not permit the children to spend time with the other parent, regardless of how far along in your divorce you are, how long you have been separated, or whether you are just getting started.
The name of this blog is inspired from a query that DMS employees ask most frequently. The father will frequently claim to us that the mother is preventing him from having visiting privileges. It should be noted that the father can also be the culprit; the mother is not necessarily the culprit. Simply put, it is more typical for the mother to be the primary carer and have the authority to allow or deny access at any moment. As we have dealt with similar instances involving moms seeking mediation, this website might help you as well.
Some authors that write about this issue bring up the concept of “malicious parent syndrome.”
This is based on psychological theory and explains a behaviour related to divorce proceedings that some parents use to get even with the other parent by using the kids. The psychologist hypothesises that the “malicious parent” may engage in a number of behaviours throughout the divorce process, such as:
1. The children are forbidden from seeing the other parent as a form of punishment
2. Disallow all interactions between the kids and the other parent, even indirect ones like FaceTime and text messages.
In an effort to sway the kids against you, tell them lies about you.
Mediators do not use the term “malicious parent syndrome,” which is outdated. We refer to this problem as “parental alienation” instead. This is congruent with the notion that came before. It causes a significant lot of grief and anguish for both parents and kids. Unfortunately, it could happen frequently throughout a divorce, and we deal with it frequently in mediation. We have already discussed the benefits of having an amicable divorce for you and your family, so we recommend reading this blog post as a way to start your separation with grace. Although we understand that amicable divorces are not always possible, approaches for amicable divorce emphasise the importance of coparenting and working together to achieve excellent results for the entire family. This helps prevent parental alienation both now and in the future.
What is parental alienation and why does it happen?
The term “parent alienation,” which the court uses to describe a situation in which your children are reluctant to visit you for reasons that appear to be their own but are actually the result of the other parent’s manipulation, is not defined by law either. Although it is notoriously difficult to prove, CAFCASS would look into it if you think it exists throughout the court procedures. When possible, one or both parents will limit contact with the kids and may disparage the other in front of them, which is a common symptom of parental alienation. Children are put in a difficult situation that they shouldn’t have to deal with because of this.
Parental estrangement does not always have a clear cause. This occasionally happens when one parent is trying to bargain or negotiate with the court using the kids as leverage. As an illustration, some parents approach us and accuse the other parent of “using the children as pawns.” As was already said, another factor could be the other parent’s use of the kids as a kind of punishment throughout the divorce. For all parties involved, refusing touch is exceedingly difficult, regardless of the reason.
What ought I to do?
The first thing that comes to mind may be to ask the court for permission to see your kids. However, you should only consider this as a last resort. You should try to solve this issue among yourselves first. Some people choose to send a letter to the other parent asking for communication to be resumed. Sending this by recorded delivery will give you proof of postage.
You should seek family mediation if you are unable to resolve the matter on your own. Prior to the mediation, you must attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). In this confidential meeting with a trained family mediator, you will learn more about mediation and the process so that you may decide whether or not to participate. The mediator will also assess if the case is suitable for future action. If you are not exempt, you must attend an MIAM before making a court application. The full list of exceptions is provided below.
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The mediator will invite the other parent to the mediation session after your MIAM. The administrative team at DMS will take care of this on your behalf by SMS, email, and mail depending on the contact information you supply. If either parent agrees to the proposal, they can each complete their own MIAM, and if the situation is appropriate, you will continue with family mediation.
Family mediation is the best solution for resolving issues in families, such as when one parent refuses to give you access to your children. Your licenced family mediator will facilitate a conversation between you and your spouse regarding the plans for your children during mediation. Your mediator will facilitate discussions regarding the issues at hand, your hopes, and what can be done to move forward so that your children may spend meaningful time with both parents.
You may assume that during mediation, you will be in charge of making decisions on the upbringing of your children. Instead of making decisions for you as parents, your mediator will give you the freedom to choose what is best for your kids. In an effective mediation, the mediators will draught what is known as a Written Agreement, which will address all matters pertaining to the upbringing of your children, including their residence, their relationships with others, their education, and any arrangements made for Christmas or other religious holidays. After the arbitration, you may, if you like, turn this Plan For the Child into a binding contract. An peaceful accord can continue thanks to mediation.
It is possible that the other parent rejects the request to mediate right away or that the mediation process falls through while you are involved, which is unfortunate because mediation does not always proceed as planned. You will receive an MIAM certificate from your mediator in this situation, which you can use to submit a court application.
You must submit Form C100 along with your request for a Child Arrangements Order in order to submit an application to the court. For your children to spend time with you while the Child Arrangements Order is being finalised, you may obtain an Interim Contact Order. Between the hearing for directions and the final hearing, the Interim Contact Order is formed. The Court may allow some communication after receiving an Interim Contact Order, depending on the situation, before making a final decision. Typically, unless the other parent agrees, this does not involve overnight contact. This is important to remember because the other parent could only be open to supervised communication, like through a call centre.
At the last hearing, the Court will render a decision about the Child Arrangements Order. Based on the requests you made in your initial C100 application, this will be decided. One of the primary factors the court will take into account when making a decision is a report produced by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). This report was created by a CAFCASS officer using observations and/or interviews. In general, the Court relies on this report when making decisions. The report’s contents may be disputed, but only on grounds that are convincing. You may read more about CAFCASS here.
The Child Arrangements Order will be enforceable in court. You may go back to court and obtain an enforcement order if the other parent does not actually abide by the conditions of the order in the future. You should now go back to step 1 and try family mediation once more, following the identical steps this time.
What should I do next?
Undoubtedly, this situation is extremely upsetting and frustrating for parents who are refused access to their kids. Know that there are things you can do if you find yourself in a scenario like the one this article describes. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss family mediation with a member of our team; we’d be happy to help.