The Children (Scotland) Bill passed its first parliamentary hurdle in Holyrood yesterday after its stage 1 debate.
MSPs from all parties supported the general principles of the bill, which amends the law regarding childcare between separated parents, including the weight to be given to children's views – a matter on which minister Ash Denham promised the Government would be open to amendments at stage 2 – as well as dealing with cases of non-compliance. It will also regulate contact centres, and child welfare reporters.
Ministers have held out against additional rights for grandparents, something pressed for by some MSPs in the debate.
Speaking after the debate, Ms Denham said: "Family breakdown can be very distressing for children and it is our responsibility to ensure that Scotland’s family justice system shows compassion and does not contribute further to their suffering.
"It is vital that in every case the best interests of the child remain paramount. We also need to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to have their views heard.
"In developing this bill we have been guided by their views and experiences, and I’m very pleased that Parliament has signalled its general support for the measures we are seeking to introduce."