Residence and Contact
We are routinely instructed by clients in connection with disputes about where their child or children should live and what contact they should have with the other parent. As difficult as it can be when the adult relationship breaks down, we will actively encourage you to focus on the welfare of your child or children – after all you are writing an important chapter in their future.
Decisions on residence and contact are based on two fundamental principles contained in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Firstly, the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration. Whatever the arrangement, it has to be in the best interests of the child. Secondly, the ‘no order principle’ that a court can only make an order where it is necessary and better for the child than having no order at all.
A conciliatory approach is generally best with children’s cases. The advice we provide is straightforward and focussed depending on your situation and the child’s age and stage of development.
Children’s views must be taken into account in any matter of importance affecting them. In Scotland it is presumed that a child of 12 is mature enough to give their views although children of a younger age can also have a say. Whilst the child’s view is not determinative, it is an important part of the process.
We are regularly instructed by parents, children and other relatives in relation to these matters and we offer a range of options to help you resolve your dispute.
The Scottish Government is supporting information sessions for separated parents which are being provided by Avenue, a counselling and mediation service in the North East. Further information is available from their website www.avenue-info.com.