As Divorce Lawyers Perth will tell you, children are often weaponised during a divorce by either the mother, the father or both parents. Sadly, and invariably, there is never a winner if this happens, and the people most likely to suffer are the children, through no fault of their own.
This weaponisation can be done in many ways such as using the children as some kind of bargaining chip when it comes to agreeing on the financial settlement, or by trying to influence the children to say untrue things in the court if they are asked questions as part of family report.
Even after the court has issued its order with regards to the divorce, and the children, in particular, the dust doesn’t always settle. Unfortunately, there are many instances where the parent with whom the children live still try to use them in a way that they think punishes their ex-partner.
One of the most common of these is where the children live with their mother, and despite the court ordering shared parental responsibility and visitation, she tries to stop the father from seeing the children. We should point out this can also happen when the roles are reversed, and it is the father stopping the mother seeing her children.
If you are the parent being denied the chance to see your children, then it can be upsetting and also a cause for anger, which is understandable.
One thing you cannot do is try to see the children forcibly by turning up early at their school for example and taking them with you. That could be the quickest way of seeing yourself in court, but for all the wrong reasons.
Your first step is to actually try and speak to your ex-partner. They might be refusing you visitation due to a misunderstanding or a misconception of something that doesn’t exist.
For example, it could be that they do not want the children visiting your home because they believe you have a new partner living there with you when in fact that is not the case.
If your ex-partner has no desire to speak to you directly, you could try using a third-party whom you both trust, or if you want to make it more formal, you could try making some progress by using your lawyer to write to theirs.
Where none of these work, then it will inevitably mean going down the legal route. The first step in this process is called a contravention order which you file with the court. As part of this, you should produce records of all the instances that you have been prevented from seeing your children.
Where the court finds that your ex-partner has indeed breached the previous order, there are several ways it can proceed, It can vary the original order, compel your ex-partner to attend a parenting program, to pay your costs, to pay a fine and it can even order that they serve a prison sentence for breaching court orders.
However, it is important to note that most of these will not actually guarantee you see your children anytime soon. Where a parent is determined to deny their ex from seeing the children, it can be a long arduous road until they finally have no choice but to allow it.
Thankfully, in most instances, that does not happen, and once the court makes its judgment the fear of being imprisoned for non-compliance with its order, is usually enough for the offending parent to see sense.