In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by partner Nathan Wright...

How can I stop kids from witnessing their dad's abusive new relationship?

Q: I believe that my ex-partner is in an abusive relationship with his new partner. I believe this because of what our children tell me when they come back from seeing him and what his brother tells me. There is a Court Order in place granting him access to see the children every weekend, and there were no problems before he moved his new partner in, but now I am worried that they are witnessing arguments and may possibly witness even worse in the future? What can I do?

A: Domestic abuse is taken very seriously by the Family Courts in England and Wales and the Courts would not want any child to be exposed to domestic abuse or arguments between adults.

However, you cannot just stop access due to your concerns as it is likely the Court Order in place includes a warning notice setting out the consequences of failing to comply with it. Such consequences can include being fined or made to do unpaid work.

In circumstances such as those you describe you may want to consider making an application to the Court to vary the current Order. You should make the court aware of the situation and state that, given the risks involved, you do not feel it is in the children's best interests for the Order to continue in its current form.

The Court might look at changing the Order so that your ex only sees the children when he is not with his new partner. Or they might ask social services or CAFCASS to undertake investigations into the situation. Be assured that the Court will only make an Order if it is in the interests of the child, which also means that it must be safe.

You should make an appointment with a solicitor specialising in family law to discuss your options.

This question has been answered by Nathan Wright, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194.