What are the rights and duties of a guardian?

If children are not subject to the parental responsibility of one or both of their parents, they come under guardianship. This happens for example if the parents die. The guardian then takes over responsibility for the child and has a duty to ensure the care and upbringing of the child. Guardians need not care for the children themselves. They can arrange for someone else to do it, for example in a children’s home.

Rights and duties of sole guardianship

The rights and duties of a sole guardian are different from those of two joint guardians. If you are a child’s sole guardian, you are responsible for their child’s care and upbringing. You don’t have to do this yourself. The child may for example be placed in a foster family or a children’s home.

Court supervision of the child’s assets

As the guardian, you are the child’s legal representative. You manage the child’s assets instead of the parents. The limited jurisdiction sector (kantonrechter) of the district court monitors the way you manage these assets and you have to ask permission in advance for certain acts. You can also use the child’s assets to pay for their support. But you do need the court’s permission to do so.

Rights and duties of joint guardianship

As joint guardians, you must care for and raise the child yourselves. You are also liable for the child’s maintenance (onderhoudsplichtig). This means that together you must pay for the child’s support. Together you are the child’s legal representatives and you jointly manage their assets.

Changing the child’s surname in the case of guardianship

As joint guardians you can ask the court to change the child’s surname. The child will then be given one of your surnames. You must ask for this change at the same time as you apply for joint guardianship. The child’s interests are paramount when the court decides on your request for a change of name.