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If parents are married to each other they will both have parental responsibilities and rights in relation to their children.

When the parties are not married then the mother has parental responsibilities and rights. The father will have parental responsibilities and rights only if he is named on the birth certificate. If the child was born before May 2006 then an unmarried father will not have parental responsibilities and rights. The unmarried father who has no parental responsibilities and rights can obtain these either by agreement with the mother or by court order.

If a court can be persuaded that it is in the child’s best interest that the father be given parental responsibilities and rights then the court will make that order.

When there is a dispute about where the child should live then that can be made the subject of a residence order by the court. Similarly, the court can make an order providing for the child to have contact with the non residence parent if that is a matter that cannot be agreed between the parents. If a child is of an age to give an opinion then the court should take the child’s views into account if they can be ascertained.

Where both parents have parental responsibilities and rights, and if the child is habitually resident in Scotland, neither parent can remove the child from the UK without the consent of the other, or a court order.

Fiona Rasmusen
Partner, Head of Family Law
Do you need help? I specialise in family law, divorce, separation, child contact and residence, prenuptial agreements and separation agreements.
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