What do I do when my ex won’t let me see the kids?

You might have to go to court to obtain the legal right for your children to see you. Children generally need both parents in their lives.
You might have to go to court to obtain the legal right for your children to see you. Children generally need both parents in their lives.

My wife and I have just separated. She is extremely angry and stopping me from seeing our three children. I can’t understand why she is behaving like this. For one, she told me to leave. Secondly, I have always had a good relationship with the kids. I miss them and I am worried about them. What can I do?

Your wife cannot stop you seeing the children unless you let her. Children need contact with both their parents. The legislation on shared parenting recognises this. The best interest of the child is paramount and that will usually involve substantial time with each parent.

If it is shown that a child is at risk from a parent, contact is likely to be limited and supervised. But even in these circumstances, some contact is likely to be granted.

Your first step is to seek legal advice. You need to do this immediately. Your contact with the children needs to be restored as soon as possible. The longer your wife has exclusive contact, the more you jeopardise your legal position in relation to the children. Your wife might know this and be deliberately excluding you so you end up with less contact time. Unfortunately, the motives of some parents are not pure. Child support payments are partly calculated on the amount of time the child is in a parent’s care.

The angry parent might want the money but she might also have other motives. She uses the high child support payments as a way of punishing the ex partner. Of course, denying access to the children is another means of punishment.

Your wife might have told you to leave but that doesn’t mean she expected you to go. People play games, sometimes very risky games. If this is the case, she wanted something from you. Perhaps she hoped you would change in some way. Perhaps she wanted more attention or power in the relationship. If so, you weren’t supposed to leave. You were supposed to give in to her.

It seems she took this gamble and lost.

In these circumstances, she is going to be furious. Of course, she is really angry with herself. She probably hadn’t thought the whole game plan through. Now she is a single parent with three children. But she doesn’t want to take responsibility for this outcome, so she blames you.

This separation is not going to be much fun. You really need to let her know you will not be intimidated. You need to commit to continuing your healthy relationship with your children and accept that you need legal help to make this happen.

Once she knows you are serious – and it might take a court case or two to get this message across – she will likey back off somewhat. Then you will have to work on releasing your anger towards her. The most successful post-separation relationships are devoid of negative emotion. Both parents can talk calmly and focus on the needs of their children. It can take a lot of time, money, heartache and emotional growth to get to this point but it is worth going for it.