Freeing orders and fathers who are not parents

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The unmarried father always has been more trouble than he is worth and he really ought to be abolished as soon as possible. This was illustrated yet again in three recent adoption cases. It will be recalled that under the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978, s. 65(1), “parent” is defined to mean the mother or the father who has parental responsibilities and parental rights; and that under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 parental responsibilities and parental rights are conferred on all mothers but only those fathers who are or have been married to the mother, who have a court order conferring such responsibilities and rights on them, or who have persuaded the mother to sign a s. 4 agreement to share such responsibilities and rights. The result is that the father who has neither married the mother nor obtained a court order or a s. 4 agreement is not a parent and has no right to be heard in the adoption process. But an awkward situation can arise if such a father attempts to become a parent by any of these means during the adoption process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-193
Number of pages2
JournalScottish Law and Practice Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • freeing orders
  • family law
  • scots law
  • unmarried fathers
  • parental responsibility
  • adoption


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