Custody/ Access, now called “Residence and Contact”. The married parents of children (and if the child was born after 4th May 2006 and the father is named on the child’s birth certificate then both parents) have the same rights and responsibilities towards their children.
Neither parent has the right to determine any question about the child without the other’s consent. Both parties have a right to maintain contact with their child following separation. Disputes about where children should live and how much contact they should have with the other party can be one of the most demanding issues to deal with arising from separation.
It is our job to do so with understanding but also with objectivity. We believe that it is almost invariably the case that both parents genuinely want what is best for their children but cannot always agree as to what that is. This is something that it is often very hard for someone involved in such a dispute to recognise.
In family matters involving children it is part of the specialist’s job to strive to calm the atmosphere between the parties and to work hard to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties. One that is also in line with the children’s views and wishes and in their best interest.
In Scotland it is enshrined in the law that in all questions about children, the welfare of the child is paramount and all parties and their solicitors should have this at the forefront of their mind when dealing with this issue.
However, if one party is being genuinely difficult and obstructive then we do take such matters to court in order to achieve a beneficial outcome for the client as well as the child involved.
Unless parties can agree when the matter can be included in a Separation Agreement, then maintenance (aliment) of children is now dealt with by the CSA and courts no longer have jurisdiction to do so except in certain specialised circumstances.