Separated Parents across Scotland
We support separated parents to share parenting amicably for the benefit of their children
Frequently asked questions
What happens to contact arrangements if a “local lockdown” is imposed?
As with all the restrictions connected with COVID-19, travel to continue contact arrangements is an explicit exception. The Scottish Government Guidance connected to the Aberdeen local lockdown is here.
Of course the health of the child is important and both parents will want to ensure the child is travelling from one healthy household to another. The local lockdown shouldn’t be used to disrupt safe contact whether it is court ordered or established informally. Equally, contact shouldn’t be pushed if there is legitimate concern that one parent may have been contacted through track and trace or even may suspect that s/he may have been in contact with one of the local outbreaks.
Can one parent stop a child being vaccinated?
Some types of child vaccination such as MMR have attracted opposition, and this is likely to happen when a Coronavirus vaccine becomes available. 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.
My case is due in court soon: will it be heard?
Scottish courts are only hearing urgent child protection cases at the moment, so almost all family court hearings are paused (sisted) or postponed (continued). In each part of Scotland all cases have been moved to a few key courts – details here.
I have contact time with my kids coming up but my ex has told me they won’t come because of Coronavirus. What should I do.
We have already had several instances of this. If communication isn’t good with the other parent there is a tendency to be suspicious, quite apart from the upset that comes with losing time with your children. At the present moment (though the situation is changing at short notice) if neither the children nor their parent – or you – have been in direct contact with someone diagnosed with Coronavirus then contact ought to take place if there is agreement between parents or a court order. There is official guidance supporting this and the lockdown law includes this as an exclusion in the movement restrictions.
The decision might be being made in good faith, although overcautious. However, even if you are suspicious there is no great purpose in having an argument. Our advice is to demonstrate that you are a responsible parent with concern about your children’s health. You could reply – by text or e mail so you have a record of it – asking for some form of Face Time with your children during the time you should have had them. If the other parent is being genuine there will be no reason to refuse. If there is no prohibition on sending anything through the post you can send a cheery card saying that you hope to see them soon. Government guidance is that self-isolation should be no more than two weeks if no symptoms have developed in the meantime.
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.
Can a 12 year old decide what happens about contact?
The current current 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 Children (Scotland) Bill may extend or remove the mention of the age of 12. 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.
How do I represent myself?
here’s the answer
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.
While face-to-face meetings are suspended, Shared Parenting Scotland will hold online meetings each week. This meeting is for people who would normally attend our monthly meeting in Dundee and 5Aberdeen. If you want to take part send an email to info@…
While face-to-face meetings are suspended, Shared Parenting Scotland will hold online meetings each week. This meeting is for people who would normally attend our monthly meeting in Edinburgh. If you want to take part send an email to info@sharedparen…