Legal matters concerning children are among the most complex and sensitive areas of family law. At Miller Samuel Hill Brown, we appreciate the effect a separation or divorce can have on a child and, therefore, will do everything in our power to minimise the hardship.
It is imperative that sensible, fair and practical arrangements be put in place regarding:
We have practical and legal expertise in this area and can help you reach an arrangement that works best.
When a relationship breaks down, parents must come to an agreement about contact arrangements for any children. Parents may be able to agree on these but, if not, they may seek help through mediation or a court order to ensure that specific times and dates for child contact are set.
A contact order by the court will require the parent with whom the child lives with to allow the other parent “reasonable contact” with the child. There is no legal definition of reasonable contact, and it depends on individual circumstances.
Strictly speaking, there is no right to contact as it is the right of the child and not the parent. It will be necessary to persuade the court what is in the child’s best interests as the welfare of the child is always the court’s paramount concern when granting an order.
The court may order direct contact; allowing visits (supervised or otherwise) or at a contact centre. In some cases, the court will only order indirect contact via emails, telephone or Skype calls. The child's view will be critical, and the court will consider any opinion expressed, especially by those aged over 12.
Anyone with interest in the child's welfare can apply for contact and this can include grandparents and other family members but may sometimes include non-family members.
Court orders are enforceable, and parents must comply. Any breach of the order may amount to contempt of court. If a parent is unhappy with an order, it is essential that it is challenged using the correct procedures. The solicitors at MSHB can advise on how such a challenge might be made.
The court recognises that circumstances can change and, in that instance, a parent can apply to vary a previous decision. However, this will need to demonstrate that the change is material and it would be in the best interests of the child to alter the earlier decision.
Court proceedings covering children are stressful, and it is important to have an experienced, expert family lawyer to help. At Miller Samuel Hill Brown, we can also assist with ongoing issues that may arise such as applications to move abroad and take the children, to stop children from being taken abroad, changing schools or changing a child’s surname etc.
At Miller Samuel Hill Brown we provide clear expert advice on all aspects of family law. Based in Glasgow City Centre, our family lawyers also help clients in Glasgow's West End, South Side, Paisley and across Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Central Scotland. If you are considering applying for a residence order concerning a child or want more information, please contact our family lawyers and specialists in child custody and contact matters via our online contact form.