The breakdown of their parents' relationship is one of the main legal issues that affect children. There are many questions that can arise, which can cause distress to both parents and children.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 introduced the concept of Parental Rights and Responsibilities. Terms like custody and access were replaced by residence and contact.
The concepts of rights and responsibilities are interdependent. A parental right allows a parent to do something connected to the upbringing of a child. They then have the parental responsibility to discharge that right.
Parental rights include the right to have your child living with you or to decide where they should live. This coincides with the responsibility to ensure the child attends school and is properly cared for. Parents who do not live with their children have the right and responsibility to maintain contact with the child and to be involved in the child's upbringing.
Who has Parental Rights and Responsibilities?
A married couple both have Parental Rights and Responsibilities in relation to any children they have. Since 4 May 2006, an unmarried father whose name is on his child's birth certificate also has Parental Rights and Responsibilities.
Unmarried fathers of children born before 4 May 2006, do not automatically gain Parental Rights and Responsibilities. They can acquire these either by agreement with the child's mother or else by an order of a court.
Parents need to be able to communicate with each other for at least the duration of their children's childhood.
How Blackadders can help
The Blackadders Family Law team actively encourages parents to resolve any issues and we can help by offering the assistance of our Accredited Mediators or Collaborative lawyers or through guiding sensible negotiations
Bitter and costly litigation is unlikely to create the best environment for the children. Parents are the ones best able to make decisions about their children and the court should be the last resort.