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Parental authority and access (for unmarried couples)

Even if you are not married and never have been married, you may still have to deal with problems regarding parental authority and access. After all, every child has a father and a mother. If a child is born to parents in a non-registered relationship (i.e. not to a married couple nor to registered partners), only the mother is entitled to exercise parental authority. It is, however, possible for both parents jointly to exercise parental authority, but only if the mother agrees to this. If the mother does not give her consent, the father may ask the court, on the strength of statutory regulations and case law, for permission to exercise parental authority jointly with the mother. It must, however, first be established that he is indeed the father of the child. This means that he must already have acknowledged the child as being his own or must do so in the near future (see 'Establishment and denial of paternity').

A parent without parental authority has access rights to his or her child if he or she has a close personal bond with the child. The European Court of Justice refers to this aspect as ’family life’. There is presumed to be some form of ‘family life’ between a child and its biological parent if the latter was present at the child’s birth and subsequently at least made a serious attempt to maintain contact with the child. If some form of family life may indeed be presumed to exist, the parent without authority may ask the court to make an arrangement for parental contact.

A parent with parental authority always has contact rights. Likewise, a child is obviously entitled to contact with its parents, so contact rights may be said to include an obligation to see the child in question. Further information about this can be found in the section entitled 'Parental authority and access'.

What can we do for you?

Our lawyers will be pleased to provide expert assistance in legal proceedings on parental access or parental authority.

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