I want to spend time with the kids, but my former partner won’t let me see them!

Unfortunately sometimes conflicts get out of hand and the children get involved in the conflict between you and your former partner. This might lead into situations where your former partner refuses to let you see them.

Firstly, any situation where a former partner is refusing to let you see your children is considered to be a serious situation. The children’s best interests must be considered at all times, and this extends to their right to spend quality time with their parents.

At all times you should immediately try to resolve the conflict through counselling or through mediation. The Family Relationships Centre, or perhaps Relationships Australia can assist in relation to arranging a mediation for you and your former partner to resolve the dispute.

If you are unable to resolve the dispute informally or through mediation, then you need to consider court action.

If you already have Family Court orders saying that you should spend time with the children at particular times, then what you can do is make an application to the Family Court saying that your former spouse has failed to comply with those orders. If the contravention is proven, then the Family Court can order for a number of things to occur, such as for make-up time, asking for the parties to attend a post-separation parenting course, or even a fine or jail time.

If you do not have Family Court orders, then you must consider what kind of orders you want and make an application to the Family Court for those orders. You need to put careful thought into the orders that you want at the end of the day – for instance, you need to have fairly compelling reasons as to why you should have sole parental responsibility and that your former partner should not have contact with the children.

In addition to this, sometimes, in an emergency, the Court might be able to grant orders preventing your former partner from doing things like taking the Child out of the country. If you suspect that your former partner intends to do this, then you should immediately act on this without any delay.

At the end of the day however, children are not, and should never be a bargaining chip in a dispute between you and your former partner. The separation between you and your former partner is already a tragedy for the children. At the end of the day, it is critical that you and your former partner should try to work together to ensure that whatever happens – the children’s best interests are looked after.