The legislative amendment introduced by the Child and Family Act 2014 clearly attempts to promote the continued involvement of parents in a child`s life, but it is important to distinguish this from the presumption of shared care. Shared care is the term used when there is an order that children live with both parents, although these parents live separately. The label of «shared care» is essentially semantically important, because a parent with parental responsibility for a child, but without the usefulness of a «live with» order, would not lose their right to play an important role in a child`s life. However, the label can make a big difference in how parents see their role in a child`s life and can help reinforce the fact that both parents play an equally important role in a child`s upbringing. In recent years, the courts have taken a steady step to order joint care in most cases where both parents are ready and able to care for the child, and there are no significant welfare or abuse issues that would not make it appropriate. For every parent who discusses children`s agreements with a former partner to reach an agreement, it is important to consider the proposed plans from the child`s perspective. It is important that, as far as possible, a friendly and communicative relationship with your former partner is maintained in order to facilitate your child`s daily life. Separated parents are too often drawn into a contest to show «who is the best». – This is not the right approach. There will be times in the future when arrangements may need to be changed to host birthdays, overnight stays, school trips or even forgotten sports kits from friends. A communicative relationship is so much more beneficial than a relationship where parents try to score points against one another. Do you think about this from your child`s perspective — do you want to see your parents talking or arguing? A common «life with order», where the child lives with both parents, does not necessarily mean that there is equality of time.
The courts can make a common «life with order», where the child technically lives with both parents, but can only live with one of them on alternating weekends and one night a week. A fair and equal distribution of time is rather called a «joint custody agreement», and this is where a child most often has a week/week off between the two parents. Here too, many parents have the prejudice that «the child can vote». This is rarely the case. A court would not ask a child to choose one parent over the other. If a child is 14 years old, there may of course be practical considerations that make one of the parents more comfortable than the other, taking into account the aforementioned factors, and under these conditions, the wishes of a child would be taken into consideration, but the idea that an eight-year-old will choose the parent with whom he or she will live, It`s absurd. It would appear that the law avoids gender discrimination and stereotypes, since parental obligations and rights defined in the legislation are conferred without distinction on both parents. This could indicate that the law promotes gender equality and «shared» responsibility for the care of a child, with the best interests of the child being the key factor in decision-making. Nevertheless, the «maternal preference», particularly with regard to young children, seems to have been revived in the case of Jordan against Jordan in 1983 SLT 539. Lord Stott, who reported on the Inner House`s decision, cited the Lord Ordinary`s view that «prima facie a mother is more qualified than a father to educate two young girls». Pending COVID-19 restrictions, the Scottish Parliament`s bipartisan group for common parenting was meeting regularly and so it is not inconceivable that in the future the issue will be taken into consideration by MSPs.
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