Q. My ex-partner has been convicted for possession of cocaine. As much as I thought he deserved to be sent to prison, he was only given a fine. With him on the loose I am really worried about our 6 year old son as my ex is a bad influence on him. Is there any way I can stop him having contact with my son now that he has been charged with a criminal offence?
A. Whilst it would be extremely difficult to stop contact between your ex and your son altogether (he is his father after all), you can certainly try to limit it. You may wish to consider making an application to the Court to formalise contact arrangements between you and your ex-partner. You could request that the Court reduces contact or that contact with his father is always supervised by somebody else.
Whilst your ex’s conviction may seem like a good reason to limit or supervise contact, the Court will need to consider evidence from both sides on your proposals and ultimately make the decision on how contact should take place in the future. The Court may also order that drug testing is carried out.
Before applying to the Courts, you are under an obligation to undergo mediation. Mediation can be a useful process which gives parties the opportunities to voice their concerns and try to reach an agreement in relation to contact before it gets to Court. It can often be the case that mediation fails and no agreement is reached, as sometimes there is just too much “bad blood” in the relationship. If mediation fails, you would then be able to bring the matter before the Courts. It would be advisable for you to instruct an experienced solicitor who can help you through the process and fight for the result that you want.
(Article published 19/06/2017)