Children, Child Residence & Contact
Every family unit is unique and it can be a very emotional time for everyone involved when the parents’ relationship breaks down. We work sensitively in dealing with all matters concerning children during this time. We can advise on negotiation and mediation as well as provide guidance and support on the court process if appropriate.
In Scotland parental rights and responsibility govern relationships with children. Married couples have equal parental rights and responsibilities. Since May 2006, unmarried fathers have parental rights and responsibilities if they are named on their child’s birth certificate and share parental rights and responsibilities with the mother. If a father doesn’t have automatic parental rights and responsibilities then these can be acquired by agreement with the mother. A father can also obtain parental rights and responsibilities by applying to Court. Other people with whom a child has a relationship – for example a grandparent – can obtain parental rights and responsibilities in certain circumstances by applying to Court.
The welfare of the child or children is at the forefront of any decision. When parents separate, important decisions need to be made about where the children should live, what arrangements for contact should be reached, and many other matters relating to their health, education and welfare. The law encourages parents to reach their own agreements on these matters if they can. The Courts will not make an order unless that is necessary.