Contact between your child & their other parent

Last updated: 17/02/2021

When your child’s other parent has parental responsibilities and rights, they should be included in any decision made about your child.

If your child’s other parent does not have parental responsibilities and rights when you separate you do not legally have to consider them when making decisions although it is usually better if your ex-partner can remain involved and included in decisions about your child.

Research shows that children benefit from seeing both parents but there are few families who can manage to share the care of their children equally. Usually the children live with one parent and spend less time with the other. The parent the children live with is usually called the parent with care. The parent the children spend the least time with is usually called the parent with contact.

When parents are able to talk to each other after separation it makes this arrangement easier. There are a few things that you can do to help this:

  • Discuss holidays, special dates and occasions in advance. Maybe take turn around having the children during school holidays.
  • If you are unable to go to parents’ evenings together maybe take turns about at that too
  • Share information from the school and doctor so you both feel involved
  • You may be able to involve the children in how you share their care with your ex-partner but avoid asking them to take sides or settle arguments.
  • Remember that you are doing this for your children
  • Complete a parenting plan that helps you plan how you and your ex-partner share care


Using a parenting plan to sort out care and contact

The Scottish Government has produced a Parenting Agreement for Scotland. It contains a guide to help you think through the issues that are important for your family, two copies of the Agreement so that you can both keep a copy of what you have agreed and a Charter for Grandchildren – a reminder of the important role grandparents and the wider family can play in a child’s life. These documents will help both parents to discuss and agree on the future arrangements for your children. The Agreement is not legally binding but can go a long way in helping you and your ex-partner to agree on a plan that is best for your children.

Copies of the documents are available from:

It is not always easy to make arrangements about your children with your ex-partner but putting time and effort into doing this informally will be less costly and stressful than using more formal options.