Due to the high tensions of a divorce or separation, a common occurrence is that one parent will often try to prevent contact between their child and the other parent. The parent denying access to a child in Australia will likely believe they are doing this for the right reasons. However, it is often emotional thinking which has made them resort to such behaviour – and in general, denying access to a child in Australia is not allowed.
The article will discuss the various situations where a parent will deny access to a child in Australia and when it is and isn’t permitted.
When Is Denying Access To a Child In Australia Not Allowed?
A parent may not deny access to a child in Australia in the following situations:
- Where the parent will not, or has not paid child support
- The parent does not visit their child enough, despite the existence of a child custody agreement
- The parent is sometimes late to pick-ups and drop-offs
As reflected in the above examples, denying access to a child in Australia cannot be used as a punishment mechanism by the parent who has sole parental responsibility whenever they please.Thus, if a parent wishes to cease or limit contact with the other parent, they will typically have to pursue the matter in court and get an order to that effect from the judge.
However, there are some circumstances where the parent will not need to do so highlighted below.
When Is Denying Access To a Child In Australia Allowed?
Generally speaking, denying access to a child in Australia is not allowed. However, access to a child may be denied in some limited circumstances.
Denying access to a child in Australia should only be done in extreme circumstances where it is the last resort – such cases may include:
- Where it is in the best interests of the child to do so
- To protect the safety of the child
- Where a history of violence is present
- Where the parent abuses alcohol and drugs and may be intoxicated around the children
- Where the parent has extreme mental health problems
Sometimes, the court may opt for supervised visits rather than completely denying access to a child in Australia. Supervised visits are a practical alternative in situations where the parent has a history of family violence and unhealthy behaviour such as aggression around the child. The supervision component ensures that the child is not exposed to such behaviour, as the supervisor may cease the session at any time because of the parent’s bad behaviour.
Supervised contact also serves as an excellent way to gradually ease communication amongst parents and children who have not been in contact with one another for years.
Here is a list of people who may be allowed to supervise, depending on the circumstances of the case:
- A professional supervisor in a contact centre
- A professional supervisor in a remote setting (e.g. coming to your home or chosen destination)
- A relative such as a parent or a sibling
- A babysitter or close family friend
What Can I Do If I Am Being Denied Access?
If you are the parent being denied access to a child in Australia, your first course of action will be to propose a family law mediation session with your former partner.
If they are unwilling to compromise in the session or attend the session period – you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. It is vital that you remain calm despite the situation and do not resort to actions such as threatening your former spouse in any way or snatching your children. These actions will unfortunately only work against you in the courtroom setting.
How Do I Stop The Other Parent From Seeing Our Child?
If it is in the child’s best interests, you may limit the other parent from access your child. Such a situation will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Just because you believe it is in the child’s best interests to cease contact with the other parent, the court may not determine this.
This is because the court has to balance the danger of exposing your child to any harm, psychological damage, violence and so forth with the prospect of you having a meaningful relationship with the child.
Suppose you would like to stop your former partner from spending time with your child. In that case, you should seek the assistance of an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your particular circumstances.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When one parent denies access to a child in Australia, it is essential to note that it may or may not be permitted depending on the circumstances. In most cases, it is not. However, sometimes when instances of family violence are present – it is. Regardless of the situation, you should obtain legal advice from a family law professional. Please do not hesitate to give our law firm a call to discuss your particular circumstances.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about your former partner denying access to a child in Australia or any other family law matters, head over to our blog section for more informative articles on a wide range of family law topics.
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