What are the rights and duties of parental responsibility?

As a parent with responsibility you must care for and bring up the child. You are also the child’s legal representative.

Parental responsibility where there is a marriage or registered partnership

If you were married or in a registered partnership when your child was born or adopted, you automatically get parental responsibility for your child. If two women are married or have a registered partnership, they both also automatically have parental responsibility – provided the child was not acknowledged by someone else before the birth.

After a divorce, both parents keep parental responsibility for the children unless a court decides otherwise. Parents still have a duty of maintenance for their children until they are 21. Liability for maintenance does not stop after a divorce or after a registered partnership ends.

Parental responsibility where there is no marriage or registered partnership

Acknowledgment of a child does not make a father or co-mother the child’s legal representative. To become a child’s legal representative you must first apply for parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility includes being a minor child’s legal representative

Minor children are often not allowed to perform official acts on their own. For example they can’t sign official documents or bring court cases. If you have responsibility for a child, you are that child’s legal representative. So you act on behalf of the child in official matters like this. If the child is under the age of 14, you are legally liable for anything they do. For example, you have to pay for any damage they cause. If the child is aged between 14 and 16, whether you are liable depends on the situation. From the age of 16 a child is personally liable for their own actions.

Supervision order and order removing parental responsibility

A court can decide to give responsibility for your child to someone else, either temporarily or permanently. It can also limit your responsibility for your child. Orders like these can be made if, for example, your child’s development is in serious danger. Since 1 January 2015 municipalities have been responsible for ensuring that these orders are carried out. The municipalities reach agreements with certified agencies which implement the orders.