All adults with a role in a child’s upbringing will want what is in the best interests of the child, but good intentions do not mean everyone will always see eye-to-eye about how this is to be achieved. Unfortunately, disputes can and do arise, such as over a child’s education, where they should live or their medical treatment. If such a situation occurs and there is a need to resort to the law, it’s necessary for the individuals involved to have parental rights and responsibilities if their voice is to be heard. This is because these rights and responsibilities, which are distinct from parentage, comprise the broad legal power to make decisions concerning the upbringing of a child.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Scotland
In Scotland, the legal power to make decisions about a child’s upbringing and welfare are granted through parental rights and responsibilities. Parental rights include the right to regulate the child’s residence and maintain contact, the right to control, direct or guide the child’s upbringing and the right to act as the child’s legal representative. Importantly, these rights can only be exercised to the extent that they are needed to enable the fulfilment of parental responsibilities. Parental responsibilities include the responsibility to safeguard and promote the child’s health, development and welfare.
The mother of a child is automatically granted these rights and responsibilities, but an unmarried father, a father not named on the birth certificate and other relatives and individuals, such as same-sex partners, grandparents, step-parents, aunts and uncles, must either enter into a parental agreement with the child’s mother or apply to the court for them. Only if the mother agrees or if the court grants the application, do they then have the legal right to contribute to the decision-making process.
Our family and child law solicitors have vast experience helping clients throughout Ayrshire resolve issues concerning parental rights and responsibilities. Gordon, a senior partner, regularly represents mothers, fathers and other relevant parties, and his experience in this area is such that he is often appointed by the Court to provide independent reports in family cases.
We will carefully consider your circumstances and help you identify the best course of action. Whether you’re looking to put an agreement on parental rights and responsibilities in writing, reach an agreement via mediation or need to make an application for parental rights and responsibilities to the court, we can help. We will assist you to find a solution that keeps the best interests of the child at its heart. Please contact us for more information.
Contact our Family and Child Law Solicitors – Ayrshire, Scotland
We strive to go above and beyond what is expected of a lawyer and take pride in being trusted advisors to our clients. Whatever advice and help you need concerning your relationship or family, please don’t hesitate to contact our approachable, loyal and reliable solicitors.
We have been serving the local community for over 30 years and are one of Ayrshire’s most respected law firms, with clients based across the county, in Kilmaurs and Stewarton, Kilmarnock and Troon, to Ayr and Irvine, Prestwick and West Kilbride.
Legal Aid may be available.