There’s no place like home…but where is home for your children?

With the opening of borders across Europe and the recent growth of the internet and cheap travel, it is becoming increasingly common for children to have parents who are of different nationality to one another.  However, should the parents separate, what happens if one parent wants to return to their home country with the child?

This is a question I am frequently asked as a family lawyer and it is understandably a highly emotive issue between parents.  Should a parent leave the country with their child without the other parent’s consent they could face criminal charges for child abduction.  Therefore consent is essential and if it is not forthcoming from the other parent you will need to apply to the court for a judge to decide.

When the court considers whether such a move with the child should be allowed, the child’s welfare is paramount and the court will apply what is known as the welfare checklist.  The checklist includes factors such as the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child, the wishes and feelings of the child, the capability of the parent to meet the child’s needs and the likely effect on the child.  The proposed arrangements need to be considered carefully and the greater part the parent who would be left behind plays in the child’s life, the greater impact/damage upon the child if the move is allowed.

If you wish to make the move with your child, preparation and research is imperative.  Also focus on how your child’s relationship with their other parent can be maintained if the move is allowed.  The court needs to be sure that the proposed move is genuine, realistic and above all in the child’s best interests.

It is a very difficult issue with many factors to consider. Whether you are the parent wishing to make the move or the parent opposing the move, early legal advice is essential.

This was a guest post by Patricia Robinson Senior Associate at divorce solicitors Pannone LLP. For more information visit their website at http://www.pannone.com/

Family Law Mediation and Mediators in Scotland

Guest blawg post by Gavin Ward as posted to WardblawG

On Wednesday 30th March, I attended a Relationships Scotland event, hosted by HBJ Gateley Wareing in Glasgow and attended by family law professionals across Scotland. The event was of particular interest given the recent review of family law in England and Wales, one element of which concerns the fact that mediation for divorcing couples shall, as of 6 April 2011, be compulsory prior to them attending Court, subject to limited exceptions. For further information on this see a blog post by a family law firm in Liverpool. While mediation for divorcing couples is not yet compulsory in Scotland, it is becoming more widely available.Relationships Scotland Image

What is Parenting Apart?

Parenting Apart groups give parents the skills and confidence to communicate with their children about their separation or divorce in child-friendly language. Importantly, parents get the chance to chat with others going through the same as them. Groups are hosted by two family mediators giving parents the chance to speak to a qualified professional about any issues around parenting their children or their relationship with their ex-partner following their split.

Key Speakers at the Event

Although I have seldom practised family law myself (although I do now work with family lawyers), I still found the event very informative with speakers conveying ideas with clear expression.

Speakers included the following people who should be contacted should you wish further information on any of the topics discussed:-

– HBJ Gateley Wareing’s family law partner, Shona Templeton, who set the scene, exploring the changing face of collaborative family law within Scotland;

– Mark Stalker, who is a service manager with Family Mediation South Lanarkshire. A former solicitor, Mark discussed the the impact of the Parenting Apart project throughout South Lanarkshire;

– National Development Manager with Families Need Fathers, Ian Maxwell discussed how fathers can become involved in the collaborative process. I would also add that I met one of Ian’s colleagues, John Forsyth, who is a support and development worker with Families Need Fathers and is contributing greatly to the Scottish family justice system; and

– Stuart Valentine, the Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland, who explained how Parenting Apart fits in to the wider national picture of family support.

Further Information

For further information on Relationships Scotland and their work, see Relationships Scotland’s Blog here, their twitter account here and watch the video below.

If you have any specific queries on family law in Scotland, get in touch via the contact a solicitor form at the top right of this page.

Welcome to Family Blawg

Welcome to Family Blawg, a legal news blog on family law for family lawyers, the general public and potential clients of family solicitors.Family Law Justitia Image

A complex area requiring advice from specialist solicitors with an understanding and appreciation of sensitive issues, family law and practice involves divorce, separation, wills, children’s rights and divorce settlements.