We can provide you with assistance in all aspects of Child Support and Maintenance and guide you through options available. We can advise how the law will apply to your particular circumstances. We are able to liaise with your former partner to come to an agreement on support and maintenance payments and make provision for this in a legally binding agreement, known as a Separation Agreement. Contact us today for advice on Child Support and Maintenance.
Child Residence (formerly known as Custody)
When parents divorce and a child is involved who is under the age of 16, a decision will require to be made as to where the child lives. In legal terms this is referred to as Residence. Often this can be agreed amicably without Court intervention, often as part of a wider Separation Agreement and usually a child will live with one or both of their parents, or alternatively with a close relative, for example a grandparent.
There can be times where agreement cannot be reached on where and who the child should reside with and mediation services could be used or the matter may require to be brought before the Court. In cases like these, we can work with you towards achieving a suitable arrangement put in place which protects your interests and the welfare of your child.
Under Scots law, if you have full [parental responsibilities and rights] you can use these to determine where a child should reside. Please consult us for more details on exercising parental responsibilities in relation to residence issues.
Child Contact Law in Scotland
Child Contact is a legal term relating to contact that a person may have with a child under the age of 16 years old, who doesn't live with them. Usually contact is considered to involve seeing the child in person, whereas it can also involve contact indirectly, for example through email or other communication. Contact can also be residential.
If you are an individual with full Parental Responsibilities and Rights in respect of a child, you have a responsibility and right, where the child does not reside with you, to keep up regular, direct contact with a child.
Where a relationship has broken down, you may require to make arrangements to maintain contact with the child or you may consider that it is not in the child's best interests to have ongoing contact with a party. Making or restricting contact can be done without court intervention through negotiating an arrangement with your former spouse or partner and we can assist with negotiating and drafting such an agreement. Alternatively in some circumstances where agreement cannot be reached you may consider using a mediation service or you may have to apply to the Court for a "contact order" which will regulate the arrangements in a Court enforceable document.
Alternatively you may wish to defend an action for contact brought by another party. A contact order can be applied for by anyone with an interest in the child. It is not restricted to those with a biological connection. Again, the Court will always look at what is in the best interests of the child as its paramount consideration before making any contact order. The views of the child are often taken into account particularly if the child is 12 years old or above when their views would be given significant weight in the decision making process.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Parental responsibilities and rights (PRRs) are in basic terms, fundamental rights that a parent has in respect of their child. In spite of their name, not all parents have responsibilities and rights over their children. This may be due to a number of factors and the Court has the authority to take away some or all of these responsibilities and rights. Parental responsibilities and rights exist up until the child reaches the age of 16 years old, but there is a responsibility to provide guidance to a child up to the age of 18 years old. When a child is born its mother automatically has full parental responsibilities and rights. Full PRRs also automatically apply to a child's father if he is married to the child's mother at any point from the child's conception onwards (it does not matter whether the marriage occurs prior to or after the birth of the child) or if he is registered as the child's father (i.e his name is on the child's Birth Certificate) after the 4th May 2006. If that is the case he will have full PRRs even if he is not married to the child's mother. An individual known as a guardian may also have full PRRs if they have been appointed as a guardian in the Will of the parent who has now deceased.
Parental responsibilities and rights tend to concern everyday things in a child's life and include rights and responsibilities as follows:-
- To determine where the child lives and those with whom the child will have contact with.
- Preserving and enhancing the child's health and development which involves having regard to the child's health and education requirements, and generally ensuring that the child's welfare is protected.
- To make decisions as to a child's lifestyle and how they are to be brought up. This may relate to any particular religion the child will follow. Additionally there is a right to control, direct or guide the child's upbringing, which influence may decrease as the child gets older.
- Being the child's legal representative
Under Scots law, anyone who can 'claim an interest' is able to apply for PRRs in respect of a child which tends to mean anyone who may have an interest in the child's welfare. Relatives who may apply for PRRs may include grandparents, aunts, uncles and step-parents, but that list is not exhaustive. The child also has the power to make a Court application in respect of an order for PRRs.
It is often the case that a person will apply for PRRs when a child's parents cannot fully exercise their PRRs or have had them taken away. The Court will always look at the welfare of the child which is a paramount consideration, before granting any PRRs in relation to a child.
If you wish advice regarding PRRs in respect of a child please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
Contact Our Award Winning Solicitors
With offices in Kilmarnock, Irvine and Troon, we can help business clients all over Ayrshire and across Scotland and currently serve clients in Ayr, Troon, Arran, Kilwinning, Saltcoats, Dalry, Ardrossan, Prestwick, Stewarton and Fenwick.
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Call us: Kilmarnock: 01563 533121 | Irvine: 01294 274097 | Troon: 01292 313737