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Indirect contact: why does it matter?

As a non-resident parent seeking to have contact with your child, you may be told that this needs to happen indirectly. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to cover the importance of indirect contact, and how to make sure you manage it so that it benefits your child in the best possible way.



What is indirect contact?

A Child Arrangements Order decides where your child lives, when your child spends time with each parent, and when and what other types of contact take place (phone calls, for example).


Indirect contact means there’s no physical meeting between the child and non-resident parent. Rather it will be in the form letters, emails and gifts. Sometimes, the contact could be via telephone.


Why does indirect contact happen?


In most cases, indirect contact is in place because that’s what the court has ordered, in accordance with the best interests of the child or children involved. It’s likely to be used in situations where risk is an issue. It might also be recommended if, as the non-resident parent, you live far away from your child, for example in another country.


Why does indirect contact matter?


It’s easy for parents, non-resident or otherwise, to feel that indirect contact is pointless, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Maintaining indirect contact is really important for your child’s understanding of their family dynamic and where everything fits in.


It shows your child that you care.


If you’re not able to directly contact your child, then letters, gifts and phone calls are a really positive way to show them that you still care.


As children grow, it’s only natural for them to ask questions about why things are the way they are when it comes to family. Indirect contact can help provide clarity, and lessen very real feelings of abandonment.


If you’re the resident parent, it’s important not to be negative about indirect contact, and always try to help your child take the positives from it.


It gives your child consistency and continuity.


Regular letters, gifts or calls gives your child a sense of structure and consistency. It can be hard for children to understand why they don’t have one, both or other of their parents in their lives in a physical way. Indirect contact is a good way to address this issue if physical contact can’t take place.


Why use a contact centre?


Using a contact centre is really helpful if the resident parent finds the indirect contact painful or difficult to manage. Contact centres are neutral ground, providing your children with a positive and objective environment in which to form that connection with you as the non-residential parent.


It also gives the resident parent the choice of whether or not to be involved. If they choose not to be, they can be comfortable knowing that the contact is taking place in a safe and appropriate environment.


Do you need some more information?


If you or your ex-partner need a safe space for indirect contact with your child, then Starting Point could be the place for you. We’re committed to giving you and your child a happy, unbiased environment in which to build your relationship. Or if you’re looking for a contact centre to refer to your client, then send them our way.


Just get in touch with us today if you want to find out more about what we can do for you.