Can My Ex-Partner Limit Access To My Child?

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) states that the court must have regard for what is in the best interest of the child, which entails the child being protected from harm, and the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Limiting contact between a parent and a child

Limiting the other parent’s access to your child should only occur where it is in the best interests of the child to do so, or it is necessary to protect the safety of the child. Generally, a parent cannot deny the other parent access to their child unless exceptional circumstances arise. Examples of exceptional circumstances include where there has been family violence, where there is drug or alcohol abuse, or where the other parent has significant mental health issues.

Filing family dispute resolution

If your ex-partner has been denying you access to your child, you can attend family dispute resolution (mediation), engage in negotiation with the other parent, apply for an urgent recovery order or make an application at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

If you can come to an agreement with your ex-partner through mediation or negotiations, the care arrangements for your children can be formalised by way of a parenting plan or a consent order. Parenting plans are written agreements signed by both parents that set out the agreed arrangements. Parenting plans however are not legally enforceable. Consent orders on the other hand cover parenting arrangements. It is an order approved by the Court and as such is legally enforceable.

When to file a recovery order?

A recovery order is appropriate where the child is not returned after a scheduled visit. A recovery order is made through the Court and authorises a police officer to take the appropriate action necessary to find, recover and deliver the children.

If an application is made in Court, the court needs to first be satisfied that both parties have attended a family dispute resolution and made a genuine attempt to resolve the issues at hand. A copy of a certificate from an accredited family dispute resolution centre must accompany the application.

How our child custody lawyer can help?

We assist our clients to settle out of court wherever possible. However, when litigation is required, our experienced child custody lawyers will fiercely advocate for you. Talk to us today for a FREE 15-minute family law consultation by calling 1300 111 835 or via email at we look forward to helping you achieve a better outcome.


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Kehsee Ng

Family Lawyer

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