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Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Scotland
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Parental Rights and Responsibilities Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland

Family law helps to build a nurturing environment for children to develop by providing rules about parental responsibilities and rights (PRRs).

If you have parental rights over a child then you have the ability to control, direct and guide your child in a manner that is appropriate to their development. Being entitled to parental rights also comes with responsibilities such as safeguarding and promoting your child’s welfare and to provide guidance in accordance with their development. Basically, people holding parental rights and responsibilities have a duty to care and protect their child. 

At The Glasgow Law Practice we have great experience in working with families on PRRs. If you need advice on delicate family issues, Glasgow Law Practice have the experience and legal knowledge to aid you in sensitive situations.

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What are Parental Rights and Responsibilities?

There are certain things that are expected of a parent when they are raising a child. 

These are parental responsibilities. Along with this, there are certain parental rights that are conferred upon them to bring up their children. Rather than being separated, parental rights and responsibilities work as a set of rules to protect the child’s welfare and best interests.

Parental rights and responsibilities come in four main forms;

Firstly, parents have the responsibility to look after their children, help them to remain healthy and encourage their growth, development and welfare. That means they must ensure that children are looked after when they fall ill and are enrolled in educational institutions for them to develop their full potential. To achieve this, parents have the right to have their children live with them, or to decide where their child will reside.

Secondly, parents have the responsibility and the right to have the say how their children shall be raised. Although the law states that young people over 12 can be old enough to have views about, and begin to take responsibility for things that affect them, this parental right and responsibility confers the right upon parents to take charge of their child up to the age of 16. Furthermore, it confers upon parents the responsibility to guide and advise their children until the age of 18. If in full time education or training, these responsibilities can continue until the age of 25.

Thirdly, if the child does not stay with their parents, they have both the responsibility and the right to stay in touch with, and be involved with the lives of their children. Thus, even in situations where a child does not live with their parents, they should be able to keep in touch with them. This aims to promote and maintain the relationship between children and parents in circumstances where they do not or cannot live together.

Finally, parents have the responsibility and the right to act for their child in legal proceedings. This means that where a minor gets involved with legal proceedings a parent not only has the right but the responsibility to act for them in relation to this and instruct the lawyer as to any ways forward.

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Who has Parental Rights and Responsibilities?

Since 2006, both a child’s parents are given parental rights and responsibilities if they register the child’s birth together and both names appear on the child’s birth certificate.

For children born before 2006, PRRs vest with both parents if the child’s mother and father were married either at time of birth or later. If they were not married, then PRRs are only vested with the mother. This fact remains the same, a father can still get PRRs through marriage, completing a Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement (PRPRA) with the mother’s consent or by asking the court to vest them with him however.

There are situations that other people such as step-parents, grandparents or other family members may wish to receive PRRs. This may be because of a break-up of the family unit or because the parents are no longer able to look after their child.

In these scenarios, they can apply to the court for a contact or residence order if they can show they ‘claim an interest’ in respect of the child. When considering whether to grant a contact or residence order the court will be guided by three main principles;

  1. The welfare of the child.
  2. The child’s opinion, age and maturity level.
  3. A contact or residence order will never be made unless the court are certain that it would be better for the child for an order to be made than if it was not.
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