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Can my ex dictate who is around my child in the UK?

By , on Wednesday July 10, 2024 at 2:28 pm

Starting a new relationship after divorce or separation has the potential to create a complex dynamic, particularly if you have children with your ex-partner.

So long as both you and your former partner continue to have parental responsibility for your children, you will both be entitled to have a say in how they are raised and what is best for their welfare.

With this in mind, many parents understandably question how introducing a new partner into their children’s lives will work and whether their ex-partner can determine whether this is possible.

Can my ex stop me from introducing my child to my new partner?

Generally speaking, no, your ex-partner will not be able to prevent you from introducing your child to your new partner. So long as you and your ex-partner have parental responsibility, you will continue to have equal autonomy with regard to the decisions you can make about your child’s life, including who they can see and spend time with.

There is no specific family law on introducing new partners to children, so the actions your former partner can take will be somewhat limited.

The exception is if your ex-partner is able to demonstrate that your new partner poses a genuine danger to your child’s welfare.

If your ex believes that your child spending time with your new partner would be harmful, they could make an application for a Specific Issue Order. For such an order to be granted, your ex-partner would need to be able to make a compelling case to the court to demonstrate the impact on your child.

Can my ex use my new partner to stop me from seeing my child?

In a practical sense, yes, your partner could use the excuse of your new partner as a way of preventing you from seeing your child. However, unless they are able to successfully make an application for a Child Arrangements Order which would prevent you from being able to have contact with your child, they will have no legal authority to do so.

If your ex-partner is denying you contact with your children, you will have various options at your disposal.

Firstly, you can attempt to reach an agreement informally, with a carefully worded letter setting out your point of view often being enough to diffuse the situation. Alternatively, you can invite your former partner to mediation sessions or, if this is unsuccessful, apply for a Child Arrangements Order.

Can my ex demand to meet my new partner before allowing contact?

No, your ex-partner will not be able to demand that they meet your new partner before they allow contact. However, if you have any concerns about the situation and how your ex-partner may react, it may be beneficial to meet with them and discuss the situation so that they feel at ease.

Can I call the police if my ex won’t let me see my child?

If you are being denied contact with your children as a result of your new relationship, it is usually much more beneficial to instruct specialist legal advice rather than calling the police. This is unless you have a serious and pressing concern about your child’s welfare and if you think they are likely to be exposed to an immediate risk of danger.

Otherwise, the best course of action will usually be to go through the steps previously mentioned, these being:

  • Attempt informal negotiations
  • Engage in mediation
  • Apply for a Child Arrangements Order

These are all steps our expert family law solicitors will be able to support you with upon instruction.

Our solicitors are here for you

If you are concerned that your ex-partner will attempt to prevent you from having contact with your children or prevent them from being able to spend time with your new partner, it is important to understand your position and the options that may be available.

Our expert family law solicitors can work alongside you to clarify your current position, explain how the family law on introducing new partners works in practice, assess how to resolve any conflicts and promote a suitable resolution that protects both your child’s welfare and upholds your parental rights.

To take advantage of a free 30-minute consultation with an expert local family law solicitor, call 0800 321 3832 or complete our quick online form.

Nick Wiseman
Divorce & Family Lawyer, Norwich

Blog Author - Nick Wiseman

Nick WisemanNick Wiseman

Nick is an experienced and approachable family lawyer with Woolley & Co, based in Norwich. He specialises in all areas of relationship breakdown and enjoys an excellent reputation.


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