As we continue to emerge from the restrictions imposed on our lives, the impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had on us as individuals, and on our society, seems quite surreal. From the requirement to stay at home, to wearing face coverings, there are many aspects that come to mind when reflecting back. It is safe to say the pandemic has touched every part of our daily lives, but one of the less well-known effects relates to couples’ rights under family law in Scotland.
Parents who have separated can, understandably, often find it very difficult to come to an agreement about the care arrangements for their children. So what happens if they simply cannot agree? Do they have to end up in an acrimonious court battle? In our experience, whilst litigating care arrangements for children remains an option, it should only be considered as a last resort in the event that other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation, Collaborative Practise, Arbitration or traditional solicitor lead negotiation prove unsuccessful. The Sheriff or Judge does not know the parties or the children. The outcome of a litigation will therefore potentially not please either party, will be hugely expensive and will likely completely polarise the parents which will make sharing the care of their children in the years to come even harder. Also parents have to remember that if they do raise court proceedings, their children are very likely to become involved in that process.
Charlotte Fleming and Sian Keddie discuss the legal concept of a Conservatorship, Scotland’s equivalent mechanism and steps that you can take to avoid the upset and distress experienced in Britney’s situation.