Brexit could present a threat to the legal protections currently available to children in Scotland and the rest of the UK who are caught up in cross-border family law disputes.
This is the finding of a new report from Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), which revealed that over 10% of all children born in the UK in 2016 could be at risk of losing legal protections in the areas of child custody, child abduction and child maintenance.
The researchers claim that children’s human rights have not been adequately considered in Brexit discussions, resulting in a serious risk that many children with one parent living in the UK and the other in a EU country could lose specific legal protections in custody disputes.
“Membership of the EU provides children and their families with certainty about their legal rights in difficult situations such as family breakdown,” explained Juliet Harris, director of Together
. “EU protections help families with UK/EU parents know where issues concerning children’s welfare and maintenance can be resolved, and help to ensure cooperation between EU countries in relation to the protection of children’s rights. The EU Withdrawal Bill has profound implications for cross-border family law and, as a consequence, the security and rights of children here.”
“Sadly, but inevitably, a certain proportion of families identified in our report will face contentious breakdowns,” she added. “Given the cross-border nature of such family cases, it is vital that families have access to clear rules determining which country’s courts shall have jurisdiction and under what conditions decisions from one state may be recognised and enforced in another. Our report found that, amongst many other risks it poses to children and families, EU withdrawal throws this into confusion.”
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