What the Family Courts expect from parents

Are you a parent thinking of asking for a court order?

Before applying for a court order, it is worth knowing that judges will expect you to have attempted to come to an agreement either between yourselves or with the help of a mediator. As parents, you both share responsibility for your children and possess a duty to make every effort to agree on the upbringing of your children; a responsibility that continues even after separation. If you are unable to talk with each other, trained mediators or solicitors can be used to find solutions. Scullion LAW are here to help. We have years of experience in dealing with family disputes and can provide you with qualified solicitors who will ensure that you and your children’s best interests are at the heart of what we do. Speak with one of our dedicated and empathetic team members now.

Getting the Courts involved

If the courts are asked to decide on an agreement for you, their priority by law is to put the welfare of the children before all else. This can be extremely difficult for parents to accept if the courts deem their personal wishes to not be the best thing for the child. The court 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.

How does the Court decide who gets contact?

The law sees it as the child’s right to have regular, personal contact with both parents, ensuring a good relationship with both 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. The court will also consider a child’s contact with extended family – for example, the grandparents of the child – important to their upbringing.

Can I be denied contact from my child?

Denial of contact is rare, occurring only in cases where the court believes your or your child’s safety is at risk. It is important to note that non-payment of child support is not a reason for preventing contact

How can I help my child?

Regardless of their age, divorce can have a detrimental impact on a child. It is important that they understand what is happening to their family and it is your job to explain this. Your child needs to have a loving, open relationship with both parents. It is your job to encourage this. You may be separating from each other, but your child needs to know that he/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 him/herself for the break-up
  • Hear you running down 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 break-up
  • Listen to what your child has to say
  • About how he/she is feeling
  • About what he/she thinks of any arrangements that have to be made
  • Try to agree on arrangements for your child (including contact) with the other parent
  • Talk to the other parent openly, honestly and respectfully
  • Explain your point of view to the other parent so that you don’t misunderstand each other
  • Draw up a plan as to how you will share responsibility for your child
  • When you have different ideas from the other parent, do not talk about it when the child is with you.

At Scullion LAW, we work closely with a family law therapist who we are happy to refer you on to. Just ask Judith about this at your appointment.

What happens if our arrangements aren’t working?

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 it. If you want to do something different, you have to apply to the court to have the court order varied or discharged

Contact Us

Judith Higson is head of our Family LAW Department. She has been practising Family Law since 2003. She is an Accredited Family Law Specialist, an Accredited Child Law Specialist, an Accredited Family Law Mediator, a Collaborative Lawyer and a member of the Family Law Association. Judith has over ten years’ experience in guiding her client through separations, divorce and child law cases, often with an international element. Judith has been involved in reported and unreported cases dealing with novel aspects of the law.

Judith’s approach is pragmatic and her focus Is on achieving a fair outcome for her clients and one which is in the best interests of the children. She works proactively to deal with all aspects of family law to minimise disruption to the family as a whole.

Contact Judith on judith@scullionlaw.com, call 0141 374 2121, or fill in our online enquiry form.

Family Law


Contact us

Email: info@scullionlaw.com

130 Saltmarket
G1 5LB
0141 374 2121

105 Cadzow St
01698 283 265

730 Dumbarton Road
G11 6RD
0141 374 2121