PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY LAWYER
Parents have a series of rights and duties regarding any children which are not of age which do not end simply because the parents have decided to separate or divorce: they must provide them with food, care for them, take them to school, manage any assets they may have, etc.
They must do all this with the child’s present and future wellbeing in mind, regardless of whether parents are living together or separated, and irrespective of whether both adults have a good relationship or are separated or divorced.
It’s an undeniable fact, however, that two people who have decided to split up may not have the best relationship, and unfortunately it can occur that parents fail to agree on such important matters as which school to send their children to or whether or not they should undergo a medical exam. In these cases, it is possible to ask a judge to grant permission.
WHAT TO DO IF…
When there’s a difference in opinion regarding an important topic for our children’s education or development, the best solution is to reach an agreement with the other parent. If your efforts in this sense are unfruitful, and you believe that you are trying to do what’s best for your child, it is possible to ask the courts to grant it by filing a claim for parental responsibility.
For example, if you believe that it is good for your child to attend a bilingual school, or one that’s closer to home, or even one that espouses certain religious values, and you are unable to make the other parent agree to it, a judge can compel them to do so as long as your petition is more reasonable than the other parent’s denial.
The same applies to medical decisions: if you think your child should visit a psychologist, if they should switch paediatrician or if it would be in their best interest to get a specific medical test or exam, a judge can grant you authorisation to make a specific medical-related decision or all future medical decisions if the judge believes the grounds for the other parent’s denial are completely unfounded or unreasonable.
EXAMPLES OF PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY DECISIONS
I have sole custody of my child, but now I have to move because of work. So I need to choose a new school for the child but the father refuses.
When we were married we always talked about sending our son to a bilingual school when he turned 6. Now that he’s about to reach the age, the mother refuses to let him change schools.
My son didn’t handle our separation too well and I would like him to see a child psychologist to help him through this difficult situation, especially since it’s starting to have a negative impact on his studies. But his mother refuses even though his school teacher has told us both he could greatly benefit from some professional help.