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Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility includes the rights and responsibilities of a parent in relation to the child or the property of the child.

Parental responsibility shall be exercised according to the child’s interests and needs. The opinion of the child must be given due weight, in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

The provisions concerning parental responsibility are found in Chapter 5
of the Children Act

In accordance with the best interest of the child, parents with parental responsibility  have the right and duty to make decisions on behalf of the child in personal matters, including matters concerning the name of the child, whether the child is to be enrolled in a religious community, medical treatment, etc.

If the parents have joint parental responsibility, they must agree on such decisions. If parents have joint parental responsibility, both must consent to an application for a passport for the child.

Furthermore, both must consent in order for the child to relocate to another country.

Married parents have joint parental responsibility for the children they have together. As from 1 January 2006, cohabiting parents automatically have joint parental responsibility for children they have together born after this date.

If the parents are not married, or are not living together when paternity is established, the mother has sole parental responsibility. However, the parents can agree upon joint parental responsibility or agree that the father is to have sole parental responsibility.

In order to be valid, agreements must be reported to the National Population Register. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parents. In cases where parents do not have joint responsibility, they are not granted joint parental responsibility by law if they subsequently move in together. In these cases, an agreement must be reported.

From July 1 2016 new rules apply concerning parental responsibility in international cases.  The Children Act § 84 a stipulates that parental responsibility which exists under the law of the State of the Child's habitual residence subsists after a change of that habitual residence to another State.

Please cf. the Children Act § 84 b regarding recognition of measures taken by the authorities of a Contraction State. Learn more about the Children Act §§ 84 a and 84 b and the 1996 Hague Convention. 

Joint parental responsibility subsists even if parents separate, unless they agree otherwise.

Special rules apply after the death of one parent, cf. the Children Act §§ 38, 63 and § 60 a.

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