Parental Rights and Responsibilities and Guardianship
In Scotland, parents have what are known as parental rights and responsibilities (s1 and 2 of the Children(Scotland) Act 1995) by reason of being the child’s mother, named on the birth certificate or having been married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. Parental rights and responsibilities allow you to make major decisions regarding your children, to spend time with them if you are separated from the other parents, to provide direction and guidance, and to safeguard and promote the health, development and welfare of your children. When your child becomes an adult at the age of sixteen, your parental rights and responsibilities are extinguished. This means that you no longer have the legal right to make these decisions for your child as legally they are deemed to be an adult.
What if my child has additional needs or a physical disability?
Many parents are unaware that they would require legal authority to continue to make decisions for their children once they are aged 16 if their child does not have what is called “legal capacity”. If, for example, your child has additional needs or a disability, you may require to continue making decisions to promote your child’s welfare once they are 16 as your child may be unable to do so by themselves or without assistance from you. The appropriate way to do so is by applying to the court for a guardianship order. This is an order that allows you to make decisions relating to your child’s welfare, such as where they will live, what activities they take part in and liaising with medical professionals regarding treatment and care. You may also need a financial guardianship which will for example allow you to access self-directed support for your child and manage their finances.
How do I know if I need to apply?
We understand that it can be a daunting process and you may have heard the word guardianship mentioned but never had the process or the reason such an order would be required explained to you. We are experts in this field and have assisted hundreds of clients in obtaining guardianship order for their children when this is required. If you are unsure if an order would be required, we are always happy to discuss your specific circumstances withy you to consider whether this is the appropriate course of action. We always recommend that the process for applying is commenced around 10 months prior to your child’s sixteenth birthday to ensure there is no gap between their 16th birthday and you being appointed as guardian.
For more information or to discuss your situation, please call us today on 01383 431 101 and one of our experienced team will be available to speak with you. Alternatively, send an email via our contact us page.