Family law: Custody rights: everything you need to know!

Custody rights determine the place of residence and care of a child whose parents are divorced. Custody is part of parental authority (see article)

Having custody of a child means living in a common household with him or her and taking care of him or her on a daily basis. 

The right of custody is established in the agreement on the effects of divorce or by the judge if the parents have not reached an agreement. In all cases, custody must guarantee the child’s good, financial security, reliability and support.

There are two types of custody: custody by only one of the parents, and shared custody.

 

  1. A) One parent has custody

The child lives mainly with one of the parents. The parent is responsible for the child’s daily maintenance (meals, clothing, etc.). 

The non-custodial parent will have to pay a contribution to the former spouse, who provides for the child’s daily needs.

In order for the child to maintain a close and regular relationship with the other parent, access rights will have to be determined. The agreement on the effects of the divorce or the decision of the judge have this competence. This article explains access rights in detail.

 

  1. B) Shared custody 

Both parents take care of the child for more or less equal periods of time. Shared custody may be counted in days, weeks or months and determined by the agreement or the divorce judgment. Shared custody is often on alternate weeks. 

One of the two residences must be chosen as the child’s legal domicile. 

Payment of contributions will generally not be required if custody is alternating and if the parents’ salaries and expenses are balanced. 

When establishing shared custody, the following elements should be taken into account: 

  • The best interests of the child;
  • The educational abilities of the parents;
  • The communication and cooperation abilities of the parents (shared custody particularly requires this!);
  • The wishes of the child and his or her age play an important role.

For example, it is not judicious to have a shared custody if the father lives in Geneva and the mother in Paris! The geographical distance between the parents’ home is taken into account. 

 

Do you need advice on how to set up a custody schedule for your child? Lawrence assists you in your legal steps and answers all your questions!

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