Denying Access To A Child in Australia – Is it Allowed?

Navigating post-separation parenting can be a difficult and stressful time. This is because oftentimes during a separation or divorce, it is common for one parent to try to restrict contact between the child and the other parent. Whilst each circumstance is assessed on a case-by-case basis, the law is very clear that children have a right to have a relationship with both their parents.  On that basis, unless there is some risk factor for your children in spending time with their other parent, time with them should be promoted. At Reid Family Lawyers we are committed to providing you with the best possible advice so that you can know all your rights and obligations as a parent. This article will inform you of when it is appropriate to restrict contact between a parent and a child and when it is not.

Situations in which access to a child cannot be denied

Due to the high tensions when it comes to separation and divorce, oftentimes a parent will try to restrict access to another parent, thinking that it is in the best interest of the child. As a general rule, a parent should not restrict access to a child if

  • The parent has refused to pay child support
  • There are aspects of the other parent’s parenting style which don’t align with yours
  • The parent does not adhere to a child custody agreement such as by not visiting their child enough

What are the exceptional circumstances?

There are situations in which a parent may be restricted from contacting or spending time with their child. These circumstances usually apply when there is some risk to the child.  For example:

  • Alcohol or substance abuse which impact that parent’s capacity to care for the child;
  • Serious mental health issues in a parent which may compromise parenting capacity;
  • Family violence
  • A risk to the child of being exposed to abuse or neglect.

What can I do if I am being denied access?

If you are the parent that is being denied access to your child, it is important to seek legal advice.  Your lawyer will help you to access mediation services in the hope that time can be reinstated.   In these situations it is crucial that you are aware of any pitfalls in order to avoid further risking your chances at gaining access to your child. This includes avoiding behaviours such as threatening your former partner or snatching your child.

Supervised contact

Depending on the situation, a parent may be granted supervised visitation rather than being denied complete access to their child. There are professional supervision services to assist families in this situation.  Sometimes it may be appropriate for some other person to supervise your time with your children including:

  • A relative such as a grandparent or aunt/uncle;
  • A close friend or new partner.

Seeking Legal Advice? Contact Reid Family Lawyers


Here at Reid Family Lawyers, we’ll make the separation process as easy as possible so that you can get the best possible outcome. With years of professional experience, we are committed to supporting individuals through difficult times. Contact us on +61 2 9091 0220 if you want expert, rational advice on how to navigate uncertain parental arrangements, the end of a relationship or a divorce. We also offer free 10-minute consultations with a senior lawyer so that you figure out which legal service best works for your needs and situation.