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Under the law, there are certain things parents are expected to do when bringing up their children known as parental responsibilities. However, there are also certain things parents are allowed or entitled to do, known as parental rights.

Parental rights and parental responsibilities are not two sets of rules but instead, work together to produce the best results for families and, in particular, the welfare of your children.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities (PRR’s), Scotland

Parents are under a responsibility to look after their children. This means they must care for them, help them in living healthy lives and nurture their growth, welfare and development. Parents must look after their children when they are ill, ensure they go to school or are given other suitable education and are allowed to develop to their full potential.

To aid you in your responsibilities, as a parent, you have certain rights. You have the right to live with your child, or to decide where they live. You also have the right to have a say in how your children are brought up. You have the right to be in charge of determining what they can do and what they cannot do up until the are 16 years of age, and advising and guiding them until they are 18. Your parental rights may continue until your children are 25 where they are in full-time education or training.

Where you are not living with your children, you have the responsibility and the right to stay in touch with them, and be involved in their life. You should have a relationship with your children where it is beneficial for them.

Also, you have the responsibility and the right to act for your children in legal proceedings. Anything involving the law should be taken care of by you on behalf of your children. This includes speaking to lawyers on their behalf where they are not old enough or where they would like you to.

Who has Parental Responsibilities and Rights?

Under the law, where a mother and a father register the child’s birth together, they are both given PRR’s. This means that both parent’s names appear on the child’s birth certificate. However, if your children were born in Scotland before the introduction of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, both parents will only be given PRR’s where the parents were married. If the parents were not married, only the mother is given PRR’s. However a father can still get PRR’s by:

  • Marrying the mother
  • Completing a Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement (PRPRA) with the agreement of the mother.
  • Asking the court for PRR’s

Other people may also go to court to seek PRR’s, including step-parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The court will always make their decision about PRR’s depending on what is best for the child. The child may be given the opportunity to express their view on the matter, and the court will take this into account.

Specialist Divorce & Family Law Solicitors Inverness, Highlands, Scotland

Innes & Mackay have been providing expert legal advice on all aspects of family law for many years. Our lawyers pride themselves in offering legal advice that reflects our client’s needs, taking an objective approach to delivering a professional and friendly service. Our team of solicitors who specialise in family law are vastly experienced in both litigation and all methods of alternative dispute resolution. All four family law solicitors are trained in Collaborative Family Law, two of the team are mediators and one is also an arbitrator.

If you need advice on any aspect of family law, contact our team on 01463 232 273 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..