Fathers in Scotland may be granted visitation and care of their children only if they can prove they have parental responsibilities and rights (PRR) toward those children. PRR is a type of legal status that grants you the right to care for, protect and make medical decisions for your child. Scottish law differs slightly from British law regarding PRR, so fathers in Scotland should be aware of their rights in order to maintain a relationship with their children.
Do You Have Parental Responsibilities?
If you and the child's mother are married, you automatically have parental responsibilities and rights (PRR). If you are not married, you have PRR if your child was born after May 4, 2006 and if you are listed on the birth certificate or if you have legally adopted the child.
The right to visitation is not guaranteed in Scotland even if you have parental responsibilities towards a child. During a divorce, the court will usually hold a child welfare hearing to determine custody arrangements. You have the right to ask for a temporary court order regarding visitation during this hearing. The court makes every effort to help parents come to an agreement on their own regarding visitation; if this cannot be done, the court may grant you visitation rights if this appears to be in the best interest of the child. The court may also assign a social worker or lawyer to mediate a final agreement regarding visitation.
Applying for PRR
If you do not have PRR, you can ask your child's mother to sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement. If she refuses, you have the right to apply for PRR through the courts. This step is required before you can be granted any rights regarding your child. The court considers your relationship with the child, your commitment to taking care of your child and your reasons for applying for PRR when deciding whether to award them to you.