Q&A My ex-wife and new partner want me to have Indirect Contact only with my son. Can they do this?

Q:        My ex-wife and I divorced when our 9-year-old son was two. I had regular access to him under a Child Arrangements Order but when I went to work overseas for a year in 2021, my contact with him had to be via video calls. When I returned to the UK my ex-wife was in a new relationship and her partner had moved into the family home and was trying to play ’father’ to my son. Now they are trying to exclude me from my son’s life, saying that me resuming direct contact is unsettling him. They want a temporary Indirect Contact Order. Could they get this?

A:        Indirect contact can be ordered within a Child Arrangements Order, setting out that the ‘non-resident’ parent will have contact with their child in the form of letters, emails, cards etc only. It is often used when there have been long periods of time between the parent seeing the child or where there are safeguarding concerns meaning that direct contact is not possible.

The onus would rest on your ex-partner to return the matter to Court should she wish to vary the Child Arrangements Order.  If she does seek to vary the Child Arrangements Order, she will need to demonstrate how the variation is in your son’s best interests.  Notwithstanding that the Order may not have been adhered to whilst you were working abroad, given that indirect contact was the only option due to the logistics of where you lived, the original Order remains in force.  If your ex-partner is not facilitating contact in line with that Order, then it could be argued that she is in breach of the Order and an enforcement application to Court could be made.  Your ex-partner then would need to demonstrate that she has justifiable grounds for the breach.

You should make an appointment with a Family Solicitor for advice on the best way to pursue seeking for direct contact to resume.

This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Deon Hayward

Deon Hayward

Solicitor

Deon Hayward is a Solicitor based in our Oswestry office.