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Right of the Unmarried Father in Scots Law

In: Other Topics

Submitted By halllidisco
Words 1400
Pages 6
Denial of automatic parental responsibilities and rights (PRRs) for non-marital fathers has become increasingly difficult to justify in recent years, as a result of changes in social and cultural attitudes. Studies reveal that 51.4% of children are now born outside wedlock. Consequently, statute has intervened throughout the years in an attempt to abolish the notion of the ‘illegitimate’ child and to ameliorate the rights of the unmarried father. In this essay, the writer will describe how a non-marital father can obtain PRRs with reference to recent legislation, discussing any obstacles they may face and consider the extent to which they are still discriminated against in Scots Law.
The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 came into force on 4 May 2006. This piece of legislation significantly improved the position of the non-marital father by amending the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which details the legal mediums through which a parent can acquire PRRs. This legislative innovation provided that unmarried fathers can acquire full PRRs providing they register as the father under any of the UK’s Acts enabling registration of births, deaths and marriages as well as registering their paternity after the amendment came into force. However, the mother is not required to register but instead obtains PRRs automatically, which is arguably discriminatory in nature against a man who is the biological father of a child born to the woman, since the mother has no mirroring obligation and acquires PRRs by virtue of giving birth.
Notwithstanding, registration is a mutual agreement and the mother can object to the father being awarded PRRS. In the event of the mother’s objection, the father can seek a parental responsibility order under s11 of the 1995 Act. In reaching a decision, the court will apply the “child lawyer’s mantra”. Firstly, they will determine if granting the father...

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