Specialisation in Family Law
Children come first.
We seek their wellbeing and stability after family breakup by safeguarding their interests.
Children are not separated and their interests have to be safeguarded as a priority. To do this, a system has to be put in place whereby both parents can share their children’s time equally or alternatively by entrusting one of the parents with their care, in which case the best visitation rights for the other parent should be sought.
Parents are required to provide for their children under 18, so we will decide on the best way to contribute to the needs of the children based on the financial possibilities of the parents.
Except in specific cases, both parents continue to maintain joint legal custody of their children in spite of separation or divorce. Regardless of the custody system that is chosen, all significant decisions in the child’s life must be taken by mutual agreement between both parents: which school the child will go to, any medical or psychological treatment the child is to receive, where the child is to live, etc.
The first and most important measure to take in a marriage crisis is to divide the time the children spend with their parents.
The custody system should be chosen based on these guidelines:
- The emotional bond between the children and each of the parents as well as relations with other people living in the respective households.
- The ability of the parents to ensure the wellbeing of the children and the possibility of providing them with an age-appropriate environment.
- The attitude of each parent to cooperating with the other in order to ensure utmost stability for the children, in particular to enable the children to maintain appropriate relations with both parents.
- The time that each parent had spent on caring for the children before the breakup and the tasks they actually performed to ensure the children’s wellbeing.
- The views of the children.
- Any arrangements made in anticipation of the breakup or decided outside the agreement before the proceedings were initiated.
- Where the parents’ homes are and the children’s and parents’ schedules and activities.
Our legal system allows for both joint custody and also single parent custody, with one or the other being assessed in line with the best interests of the child.
Parent-child communication is a reciprocal right which has to be preserved in separation proceedings. Hence if custody is awarded to one parent only, a system of relations (visitation) with the other parent is to be set up which is appropriate to the child’s age and needs as well as the availability of the parent to care for and look after the child.
If one parent fails to comply with the visitation rights, the other parent may demand they be met through an enforcement procedure.
Parentage is a right, and on this basis both the child and the biological father can file a paternity claim. By contrast, challenging paternity consists of denying the paternity which has been registered.
This biological fact is established by means of tests, the most conclusive of which is a DNA study.
Once paternity has been established, a number of rights and duties follow from its recognition:
- Legal custody and physical custody
- Visitation rights
- Child support
- Inheritance rights
- Right to bear the surname of the parents
Sometimes relationships are not only strained between parents but also with the children’s extended family. However, the right of children to interact with their extended family has led to the regulation that grandparents can also claim visitation rights with their grandchildren if they are not on good terms with their grandchildren’s parents.
Children also have the right to interact with their grandparents.