Contact with your child

Child Contact: the evidence suggests that the children who adjust best to family separation are those that are able to maintain contact with both parents. Dad Info looks at different types of child contact and how to agree arrangements


Child contact rights?

There is actually no parental right of contact with children. Contact is the right of a child, not the parent. If you and your child’s mother are unable to agree arrangements for contact and residence, you will need to turn to the family courts for help. Whilst courts will not unreasonably prevent contact, all decisions are based on the welfare of the child.  

Issues around residence and child contact can be very sensitive for parents. It is important that you try to reach sensible and flexible arrangements with your child’s mother. It will be better for your children if you can and it is far better to have reached a negotiated settlement than have one imposed upon you.

How do we agree child contact?

There is no one contact option that can be described as being the best. Each situation will be different to the next. What’s important is, not the contact options that you arrive at but that the arrangements you agree are in your child’s best interests rather than yours or your child’s mum. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that you are making plans for your child’s future if you are in a state of emotional turmoil. 

What are the contact options?

Some arrangements will be relaxed with parents agreeing through ongoing discussion. Others will be specific in terms of times and dates. Bear in mind that children, especially younger ones, like routine. Try to get a balance between being inflexible and being unpredictable.

Contact can either be direct, for example:

  • visits
  • night stays
  • face-to-face meetings

or indirect, for example:

  • by letter
  • by telephone
  • by email
  • video calling and sms

What types of contact are there?


Though not strictly speaking contact, you may agree that your child lives mostly with you.

Shared residence

This is where a child lives with both parents. Arrangements around time spent with each parent and patterns of contact vary greatly.

Staying contact (Called "residential contact" in Scotland)

Where shared residence is not appropriate, a contact arrangement where a child lives mostly with one parent but sometimes stays with the other may work. This could be one night a week, one weekend in two or simply a few days in every school holiday.

Visiting contact

If one parent does not have suitable accommodation or there is some other reason why an overnight stay may not be practical this offers an alternative.

Supervised contact

This may be decided by a court where there are particular problems, for example, when there are high levels of conflict. This usually takes place at a supervised contact centre.

Indirect contact

Where no direct contact is permitted it is important to use other methods of keeping in touch with your children. This might be through letters, postcards, gifts, telephone calls or emails.



Other useful articles about child contact...


Hide comments (5)


  • Sediq
    Sediq Wednesday, 27 April 2016


    Dear I would like to contact my children

  • Guest
    Marie Saturday, 06 August 2016

    Contact with child in care

    Son aged 3 enjoyed contact with mum on regular basis every weekend. Lives with pat grandma's, who is LA kinship carer without sgo or residence order. Made allegations and stopped contact as son is looked after child LA investigated had no concerns and attempted restart of contact pat grandma refused despite LA having parental responsibility .
    Can LA apply to court for defined contact order

  • Guest
    Dean Wednesday, 07 September 2016

    ex breaches indirect order

    Hi what do I do next my ex has not kept up with the indirect court order where I have to send gifts to my daughter Im not a bad man my ex made all sorts up to prevent me having contact, my order was to send gifts and cards to her solicitor she has not been collecting them, can i take this back to court under the orginal court case?

  • Guest
    Daryl Humphries Thursday, 08 June 2017

    Contact with my daughter

    Hey I would like to have contact with my 4 year old daughter I have not seen her since her mum stopped me having any contact with her.

  • Guest
    david g Friday, 07 July 2017

    please help

    hello i need advice i had an agreement with my ex she is not onering that agreement now i feel kids are being affected i want to go for full custdy
    it has turned bad its all new my six year old is telling me things he should not be seeing im so worried

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 19 August 2017