Legal guidance for divorce in Scotland

It’s an unfortunate fact. Sometimes couples make the decision to separate and it’s rarely an easy decision. Here Fiona Rasmusen of Gibson Kerr offers pertinent and helpful advice to navigate the path to amicable separation with your children’s best interests at heart.

This Edinburgh lawyer has advice for thousands of Scots families
This Edinburgh lawyer has advice for thousands of Scots families

If you are married with kids, going through a divorce is especially tough. While many factors play a part in a divorce, one of the most contentious areas is deciding who children will stay with once their parents are no longer living together.

And at a time when children have already been through such great upheaval, parents who are divorcing need to work hard to keep things as normal as possible for their kids, but how do you manage this when a marriage has broken down?

Minimising the impact

Through our years of experience dealing with families in this situation, we know that parents who have a good understanding of their options can make better choices for the future of their families. Children expect their parents to have all the answers, so making sure you understand the process means you will be in a better position to keep life as normal as possible for the children – and this is one of the most important things you need to consider each step of the way.

In many divorce cases, the issue of where the children will stay is settled amicably between the spouses and the children themselves. But in cases where an agreement can’t be reached, the courts have to get involved to make a decision and this is where things can become problematic.

Studies have shown that, unsurprisingly, keeping life as normal as possible for children following a divorce (e.g. staying in the family home and having contact with both parents), minimises the negative impact on them. So, if you’re divorcing, this article will give you some insight into your options to help the process to run as smoothly as possible, so you can get the best outcome for all.

Things the courts will consider

If arrangements for children are being decided by a court, bear in mind the court will take all the circumstances into account including:

The respective houses of the parents: who will stay in the family home; the size and suitability of homes and the proximity to the children’s school.Schooling: ideally, children will stay at their current schools.Friends and family: if children have family ties and friends in the area where the family home is located, the court will look at this as a factor.The children’s preferences: if the children are deemed old enough, their opinions about who they’d like to live with will be taken into account.

The court’s paramount consideration is always the best interests of the children.

Keeping the conversation going

Without a doubt, it’s best all-round if an amicable agreement can be reached between the parents for joint custody of the children after a divorce. If divorcing couples can sit down to talk about the future of the family, a better outcome is always possible. Many children from families who have been through a divorce enjoy a happy and stable future with great relationships with both parents and this is the most desirable outcome for all as you work together to build a new normal for your family.

At Gibson Kerr, we have many years of experience in dealing with divorce and child contact arrangements. If you are in this situation and feel you need some advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Family Law partner Fiona Rasmusen by calling 0131 226 9161 or by email [email protected] for a confidential, no-obligation chat.