Training Course On Co-Parenting Skills
What do children need when parents separate?
Our new online training course including one-to-one coaching sessions is now available across the UK.
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We help nearly a thousand parents every year with contact problems after separation: please consider supporting this work by donating to our Kiltwalk fundraiser. Anything you can spare will be a great help.
Frequently asked questions
As a ‘non-resident parent’ can I volunteer to be a parent helper at my child’s school for school trips etc outwith my court ordered contact time?
Can one parent stop a child being vaccinated?
Some types of child vaccination such as MMR have attracted opposition, and this is also happening with Coronavirus vaccines for children. If parents don’t agree whether a child should be vaccinated, the matter can be raised in court. The matter becomes more complicated if only the mother has parental rights and responsibilities or if a child is in care of the local authority. A recent English court judgement endorses the wisdom and efficacy of vaccination and places the onus on the parent who opposes vaccination to raise court action to stop the vaccination – see this roundup article for more background. A more recent English judgment applies this to Covid vaccination
Where do I start?
Start with the FAQs, which have been written to answer questions that are asked on our helpline, at group meetings or in WhatsApp groups. When necessary we consult experienced family lawyers to help ensure the accuracy and we try to avoid using legal jargon. Links to more detailed information are included where possible. If you can’t find the answer to your question try searching the whole site using the magnifying glass at top right of the screen. If nothing is found email or phone us with your question.
Should I represent myself in court?
We always advise people that it is best to have a lawyer if you are taking court, but we know that some people either can’t afford representation or have had such poor legal support in the past that they end up conducting their own case in court. Our Guide will help you LINK and we may also be able to link you with a lay supporter LINK. It is also worth trying to find a lawyer who can comment on what you are putting on the court papers before submitting them. There will be a cost for this service, but it costs far less than full representation and can help you avoid making errors in the way you present your case.
Can a 12 year old decide what happens about contact?
The 1995 Children (Scotland) Act says that the court should allow a child to express views and have regard to them as far as possible. It also says that the court should take account if the child’s age and maturity and that “a child twelve years of age or more shall be presumed to be of sufficient age and maturity to form a view” (section 6).
The 2020 Children (Scotland) Act removes this mention of age 12. Although that legislation hadn’t been enacted at February 2024 the court will now consider the views of much younger children. Whatever the age, the views of a child are not the deciding factor, although the older the child the more impact their views will have on the final decision.
My name isn’t on the birth certificate of my child, how can I deal with this?
If possible, try to persuade the mother to add your name. There are forms for you and her to fill in and this adds your name to the birth certificate. See https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/registration/re-registration-of-birth-or-stillbirth for more details.
If she doesn’t agree to do this, you can raise it in court at the same time as obtaining a contact order. If she disputes that you are the father you can ask for a DNA test – do this via the Child Maintenance Service if you are being asked to pay maintenance.
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