This article orginially appeared in The Herald on Friday 7th April 2017.
Child must stay in Scotland to maintain ties with both parents
A mother has been stopped from moving her young son to England following the breakdown of her marriage after opposition from the child's lawyer father.
The mother went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking an order allowing the child to reside with her and permission for him to be taken from Scotland to live near her family in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
But a judge has ruled that there were "no compelling reasons" for the two-year-old to be moved and that his relationship with his father would be "detrimentally" affected if the left the family home in Edinburgh.
The court heard that the couple still live together with Child 'O' but have separated in all other regards.
The 32-year-old said she needed the support of family and friends in the West Midlands to help with the care and upbringing for her son.
But Lady Wise ruled: "There is a compelling reason for him to continue to live in the Edinburgh area, namely that it is the only way in which he will continue to maintain and develop a meaningful relationship with both of his parents now that they are separated."
She added: "If the child stays in the Edinburgh area his care and upbringing can be reasonably shared between the parties."
She said it would be impossible for the father, a 40-year-old partner in a law firm, to play an active role in his son's educational upbringing where he lived 300 miles away.
She added: "Attendance by his parents at nursery meetings, school parents' evenings, sports days and the like are events that are already not too far away in the life of this young child.
“The opportunity is there for both parents to attend such events, either separately or together, if he remains in the Edinburgh area," said Lady Wise.
Lady Wise said the mother's desire to return to her hometown to live near relatives and old school friends was entirely understandable.
But she added: "I require to consider are the advantages and disadvantages for [child] 'O' of a move to Bromsgrove.
"There appears to be nothing in the evidence about 'O's' daily life in Edinburgh that is negative and would suggest that he would benefit in a positive sense from being taken to live in Bromsgrove."
There would of course be one significant impact on his life were he to relocate and that is that his relationship with his father would be detrimentally affected.
Alasdair Loudon, partner in the family law team at Turcan Connell, said that the case was in line with other recent judgments.
He said: "It used to be largely expected that if a marriage broke down and a child had been predominantly cared for by one parent and not the other, then that parent should be allowed to take the child where ever she, and it usually was a 'she', was living.
"This was especially true where there was support from an extended family, and the father would have to accept that and see that child when he could.
"But the balance has shifted in Scotland recently, and we see judges considering the both parents wishes rather than the wishes of the one who intended to move."