LEGAL EAGLE: Try and resolve any child contact disputes amicably
The law says that it is the child’s right to have a relationship with both parents, so if the other parent is not allowing you to have contact the first step is to find out why..
You should try and resolve these concerns with the other parent amicably and make reasonable suggestions as to how contact could progress.
If you are not able to resolve things, then you should approach a family mediator to ascertain whether mediation is appropriate.
Even if it is not appropriate, you would need to complete this step to facilitate making an application to the Court.
If mediation is unsuccessful or not appropriate, then you should make an application to court by filling out a C100 form.
There will be a court fee for this however if you are on a low income then you can make an application for a fee remission that could either reduce the fee or exclude it all together.
The court will then list your application for a Gatekeeping Hearing, which you will not be required to attend. Here, the court will make a decision regarding what needs to be completed before the first attended hearing.
Cafcass will also be in touch with both parents at this stage to discuss the case and any safeguarding concerns either parent may have. Cafcass is an independent body that puts forwards what is in the child’s best interests.
They get involved at the outset of all court matters involving contact with a child. They will then complete a safeguarding letter which will be provided to each party and the court summarising any safeguarding issues and making a recommendation as to whether any further involvement on their part is required.
A solicitor can assist you at all stages of the above and can act on your behalf if negotiations are required to resolve the matter.
At all stages the court expects parties to try to resolve the matter between themselves and where possible we would seek to assist you to do this.