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Family Law: Parental Responsibility for the Actions of Minor Children: How does it work?

    Has your child committed an offense? As a parent, it is legitimate to wonder what your responsibility will be. 

    Parental responsibility is dictated by Article 333 of the Civil Code: “The head of the family is responsible for the damage caused by minors […], unless he justifies having supervised them in the usual manner and with the attention required by the circumstances.”

    The law cannot require perpetual supervision of the child. When faced with a legal case, the concrete circumstances will be studied. The child’s situation (age, mental and physical health, development, personality) will be considered in the proceedings. 

    In order not to be held responsible, parents will have to prove that they have sufficiently supervised their child and provided the proper instruction. 

    However, the minor can be held responsible for his or her act if he or she was capable of discernment at the time of the facts (he or she knew the potential consequences). If the complainant so requires, a child incapable of discernment may be held responsible depending on the situation. 

    Parents may not be held responsible for the actions of their minor child depending on the situation. 

    However, if a court recognizes the child’s responsibility, they may pay damages to the plaintiffs. This is not mandatory, as the minor will also be able to repay the claim as soon as he or she has the financial means to do so.


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