Nadine O’Connor Comment: After a stressful day, I was delighted to learn that Ben Alcott finally met up with his son, Charlie, after 4 months.
But Ben and Charlie are not alone, their story is replicated up and down the country every day of the year.
Over the last 12 months, through Fathers4Justice, I have helped many fathers who live overseas, secure regular contact with their children who are resident in the UK. In those cases extended contact during school holidays is the most sensible way forward, along with regular telephone calls, Skype and FaceTime. Through modern technology the world is a very small place now.
When the relationship between 2 parents breaks down, this should not have any bearing on the relationship between the child/children and their parents.
You may not want anything to do with your ex, but no parent has the right to make that decision for their children.
We also, sadly, see many cases where the mother has moved on and is in a new relationship, and mums new partner interferes with the contact arrangements between the children and their father. To those men, the message is simple, “butt out”, this is not your concern.
However convenient it may be for mum to try and erase her ex from her shiney new family set up, contact denial is a form of emotional abuse and should be as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
It is always in the best interest of the child/children to resolve the differences between parents quickly. You should never hate your ex more than you love your children.
- Ben Alcott dated CBeebies star between 2011 and 2015 and the pair have a son
- Custody battle ensued with court ruling Charlie, 4, should live with his mother
- It was revealed last week that Ashworth is now living with joiner Mark Cooper
- Alcott says he hasn’t seen his son for four months and he’s living a ‘nightmare’
CBeebies star Katy Ashworth has agreed to let her ex partner see their four-year-old son – after he complained last week about lack of access to the couple’s son.
Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice say they are pleased that Ms Ashworth contacted them to confirm Ben Alcott can now see his son Charlie.
As a result, they said the protest planned to take place outside the BBC has been suspended.
Last week, Australian television director Ben Alcott, 44, said he had been left frustrated when he tried to organise visits with Charlie – in spite of a court contact order being in place.
Alcott, who flew in from Australia on Monday, told MailOnline that he will now spend time with his son this week in Manchester – for the first time in four months – after Ashworth’s lawyers agreed a visit.
The Australian said he was looking forward to seeing Charlie but feared further court intervention may be necessary.
He said: ‘I’m looking forward to spending some good time with my son. This is a short-term band-aid for this one trip. I’m sure when I come back again.’
Alcott says his long-term aim is to be able to take Charlie on holiday to Australia, where he lives, and spend some ‘proper time’ with his son.
He added that he’d been buoyed by support from other fathers who’d made contact on social media after he went to Fathers4Justice for support.
The organisation cancelled the protest planned at BBC’s Broadcasting House in central London after hearing Alcott was being allowed to visit his son.
Alcott and the popular CBeebies presenter first met in 2011 and their son was born in October 2013 but the pair separated acrimoniously in 2015, with both claiming the other had had affairs.
A bitter public battle for custody ensued, with Charlie now residing full-time with his mother in Manchester, while Alcott lives in Australia.
Initially a court order prevented the presenter from being named while the case was ongoing and she was simply referred to as a ‘mystery BBC star’.
The ID ban was overturned by a judge at London’s High Court after her victory.
MailOnline revealed in February that Ashworth has moved in with her boyfriend joinery firm boss Mark Cooper in Stretford, Greater Manchester.
The couple live not far from the CBeebies studio at Salford Quays.
Speaking last week, Ben said: ‘I haven’t seen Charlie since the end of October, I’ve barely spoken to him.
‘I had planned to come over at Christmas but Katy wouldn’t let me see him on Christmas Day because he was “busy”‘.
Alcott says the relationship has broken down to such a degree that contact is organised only through lawyers and had become a ‘contest’.
He says he tries to visit the UK four or five times a year, with flights costing around £4,000 a time but is often frustrated at only being able to see his son for a couple of hours at a time.
Alcott says: ‘It’s heartbreaking. Explain to your child why you’re giving them their Christmas presents in March.
‘I feel it’s destroying my relationship with Charlie. It’s a nightmare.’
Fathers4Justice International Campaign Director, Nadine O’Connor, told MailOnline:
‘We are pleased Katy Ashworth contacted Fathers4Justice to confirm Ben Alcott can now see his son Charlie after being separated from him for the last four months. As result, today’s protest outside the BBC has been suspended.
She added: ‘However, it is now important that a parenting plan is put in place for Charlie and his dad for the rest of this year and beyond.
‘We hope that this matter can be resolved between the parties without further dispute, and that Charlie can now receive the love and support of both his parents moving forward.’
MailOnline has tried to contact Katy Ashworth for comment.