Executive proposes new measures to protect children in family disputes

New legal safeguards to prevent children being used as ‘pawns’
in family disputes are being proposed under new legislation from
the Scottish executive, writes Maggie

Justice minister Cathie Jamieson has issued a consultation
document ‘Family matters: improving family law in
Scotland’, which proposes a radical overhaul of the legal
safeguards when families break down.

These include the granting of parental rights and
responsibilities to unmarried fathers who register their names on
the birth certificate alongside the mothers; a recognised role for
step-parents, and better arrangements for grandparents who do not
play as great a part in their grandchildren’s lives as they
would like.

Jamieson said: “I want the law to recognise that children
are better protected when the adults around them have greater
rights and responsibilities for them.”

She added that the executive is looking at creating a network of
family contact centres across Scotland – “safe havens”
– for families whose relationships have broken down to come

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