Most parents have ‘parental responsibility’ for their children, which includes a duty to protect and maintain them and provide them with a home. It also encompasses various rights relating to the upbringing of a child covering issues such as schooling or medical treatment.
In Scotland, all mothers automatically have parental responsibility.
Fathers automatically have parental responsibility if they:
were married to the birth mother when the child was conceived
married the child’s birth mother after the child was conceived, or
jointly registered the child’s birth with the birth mother
Once parental responsibility has been established, it does not cease upon divorce or separation.
If you would like to obtain parental responsibility and the other parent agrees, you can use a written parental responsibility agreement which needs to be signed and witnessed, and registered in the Books of Council and Session. If you would like to obtain parental responsibility and the other parent doesn’t agree, you can apply to the Sheriff Court to be granted parental responsibility.