Great Expectations? (What the Family Court Expects from Parents

Great Expectations? (What the Family Court Expects from Parents)

Glasgow Sheriff Court previously issued guidelines for parents who are involved in Court proceedings in relation to their child or children.  The guidelines apply to all the children and all parents and carers, without exception.  We discuss the content of the guidelines with clients and we forward this information to parents and carers whose children are the subject of Court proceedings. The guidelines serve as a useful reminder to clients to try and encourage resolution of child related matters with the other parent, rather than asking the Court to regulate things.  Obviously, this is not possible in all cases but these guidelines are a reminder of how, where possible, parents should co-operate in relation to arrangements for their children. Please feel free to print and share.

These guidelines apply to all children and all parents & carers. Please do not think that your case is an exception

.

The Court wants you to think about these things:

● As parents, you share responsibility for your child.  You have a duty to talk to each other and make very effort to agree about how you will bring your child up.

● Even when you separate, this duty continues.

● Try to agree the arrangements for your child.  If talking to each other is difficult, ask for help. Trained mediators can help you to talk to each other and find solutions even when things are hard. Local services include: Relationship Scotland – Family Mediation West (

www.fmwest.org.uk) and CALM Scotland (www.calmscotland.co.uk)  (You can also get assistance from The Spark (http://www.thespark.org.uk)

  • If you cannot agree, you can ask the Court to decide for you. The law says that the Court must always put the welfare of the child first. What you want may not be the best thing for the child. The Court has to put the child first however hard this is for the adults.

 

● Experience suggests that agreements between you as parents work better than Court imposed orders.

The Court therefore expects you to do what is best for your child:

● Encourage your child to have a good relationship with both of you.

● Try to have a good enough relationship with each other as parents even though you are no longer together as a couple.

● Arrange for your child to spend time with each of you.

Remember that the Court expects you to do what is best for your child even when you find that difficult:

● It is the law that a child has a right to regular personal contact with parents unless there is a very good reason to the contrary. Denial of contact is very unusual and in most cases contact will be frequent and substantial.

  • A Court may deny contact if it is satisfied that your or your child’s safety is at risk.

 

  • Sometimes a parent stops contact because he or she feels that he or she is not getting enough money from the other parent to look after the child.  This is not a reason to stop contact.

 

Your Child needs to:

  • Understand what is happening to their family. It is your job to explain.

 

  • Have a loving open relationship with both parents. It is your job to encourage this. You may be separated from each other but your child needs to know that he or she is not being separated from either of you.

 

  • Show love, affection and respect for both parents.

 

Your child should not be made to:

● Blame himself or herself for the breakup.

● Hear you criticize the other parent or anyone else involved.

● Turn against the other parent because they think that is what you want.

You can help your child:

● Think about how he or she feels about the breakup.

● Listen to what your child has to say about how he or she is feeling, and about what he or she thinks of any arrangements that have to be made.

● Try to agree arrangements for your child with other people.

● Talk to the other parent openly, honestly and respectfully

  • Explain your point of view to the other parent so that you do not misunderstand one another.

 

● Draw up a plan as to how you will share responsibility for your child.

● When you have different ideas from other parent, do not talk about it when your child is with you. Do not publicise your disagreement or make derogatory comments on any social media sites where the child might access them or hear about them from others

If you want to change agreed arrangements such as where the child lives or goes to school:

● Make sure the other parent agrees. If you cannot agree, go to mediation; if you still cannot agree, apply to the Court

If  there is a Court Order in place, you must do what the Court Order says even if you

don’t agree with that. If you want to do something different, you have to apply to the

Court to have the Court Order varied.

So, some helpful home truths from Glasgow Sheriff Court. If you need any help or guidance, or further explanation as to the effect these guidelines may have on you then please do not hesitate to contact Caroline Henderson on 0141 611 7535 or visit us at www.mtmfamilylaw.co.uk.  Please feel free to share this information.

Parenting Apart

Parenting Apart

 

A new free service that helps parents put kids first and cope with problems after separation is now available around Scotland from August 2015.

 

More than one in three children are now likely to experience their parents getting divorced or separating before they turn 16. The charity Relationships Scotland has launched “Parenting Apart” support sessions for couples that are splitting up, already living apart or those getting divorced. So now, for the first time ever in Scotland, parents can go along to free support sessions, wherever they live and whether they are going through the legal system or not. Most of the problems that couples go through when they separate are emotional or about their children. Relationships Scotland says parents can move forward without kids getting stuck in the middle.

 

The charity is working with the Scottish Government to provide Scottish families with the same opportunities as parents have in England and Wales. In Scotland the support for separated parents is on a voluntary basis rather than as part of the legal system.

 

Parenting Apart was piloted in South Lanarkshire for the last 6 years. The project has already helped over 40 couples tackle problems head on like dealing with conflict, finances, making joint decisions and how to communicate with kids after separation. Thanks to new funding of £200,000 from the Scottish Government this service is now being rolled out across Scotland.

 

Bernadette Lynass, Development Worker at Relationships Scotland said, “It can be hard when you are emotionally tied up in the situation. How do you talk to the kids about your partner? If people are feeling frustrated with each other that often spills over. Parenting Apart is a strong foundation for getting through these problems.”

 

Sessions are for groups of mums and dads and can also be available on a one to one basis in some areas. The facilitators who lead the sessions are experienced family support professionals. Sessions last for 3 hours. To find out more go to http://www.relationships-scotland.org.uk/family-support/parenting-apart-groups

 

Also, if you want to talk about your parenting relationship either when living together or post separation, or you need family counselling, you can try talking to The Spark, the relationship experts. To find out more go to http://www.thespark.org.uk.