Child Contact & Custody

In a divorce or separation situation, child care and visiting arrangements are often a main priority. The welfare of the child is placed first in any legal decision relating to child contact (also known as ‘access’). Contact is the legal term to define a child’s time spent with a person who does not live with the child. Parents are usually encouraged to come to an arrangement themselves regarding care, or with the assistance of a mediator before making steps towards a legal remedy.

The arrangements that generally have the most positive results are those decided by the parents. However, child arrangements can often cause tension between parents and it is not always possible to come to an agreement. Where mediation is unsuitable, or where parents are unable to come to an agreement, the family court can step in, and an order can be made to formalise contact arrangements. Our Helensburgh & Dumbarton based family solicitors are highly experienced in the family court and can advise you on your options and the best approach to take to achieve a fair outcome for you and your family.

Residence (Custody) Orders Scotland

Residence orders are orders which regulate who the child lives with. The decision will be based on what is in the best interests of the child, with the outcome depending on who is best able to provide for the practical and emotional needs of the child, as well as other factors such as the child’s current arrangements and their siblings’ arrangements.

Contact Orders Scotland

The court can make a decision about who the child can spend time with. This is known as a ‘contact order’. The contact order can compel the parent living with the child to allow the child to have contact with the other parent. A parent can also make requests as to when the child visits or stays or for meeting at a particular time, and can also cover pick-up locations or any other arrangements connected to maintaining contact with the child. The contact order can also arrange indirect contact arrangements (such as by telephone or live video). Interim contact arrangements can be made pending a full hearing either between the parents, through mediation or by the court.

Reviewing Orders in the Family Court in Scotland

It is possible to change decisions made in court to accommodate a child’s changing needs. For example, babies and toddlers’ arrangements can be reviewed regularly, in time with their developing needs over the first few years of their lives. This is also true of children who are starting school and for adolescents. Parents wishing to review their arrangement should speak to a solicitor about their options. Where it is impossible or not advisable to make such arrangements by themselves, parents can seek to make a specific issue order; an order to make changes to existing arrangements in relation to a child’s care.

Our solicitors will discuss the available options with you and agree which approach is to be taken. We understand that this is a difficult time for your family and our approach will always be helpful, positive and practical. Our expert solicitors will guide you smoothly through the entire process.

Contact our Family Solicitors in Helensburgh & Dumbarton Today

If you are concerned about contact arrangements in respect of your child or children, speak to one of our team to arrange a meeting with one of our expert family solicitors. Get in touch today via our online contact form, or give us a call on 01436 672212 for our Helensburgh branch or 01389 762266 to contact our Dumbarton office.

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