Selecting a language will automatically trigger the translation of the page content.

Parental authority in case of separation of parents

Verified 03 avril 2019 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Experimentation with compulsory mediation prior to family disputes

On an experimental basis, an attempt at mediation is compulsory before any application for modification of the approved decisions and agreements laying down the procedures for the exercise of parental authority in the courts of Bayonne, Bordeaux, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Évry, Nantes, Nîmes, Montpellier, Pontoise, Rennes, Saint-Denis and Tours.

However, this obligation does not apply if violence has been committed against a parent or the child.

Parental authority remains an obligation for the parents even if they no longer live together (divorce, end of cohabitation, dissolution of the park).

Each parent must maintain personal relationships with the child and respect the child's relationship with the other parent.

If the parents were married together, the 2 parents exercise parental authority in common.

If the parents were not married together, the father exercises parental authority with the mother if he has recognized the child before the age of one year.. If he recognized the child after one year of age, the mother alone exercises parental authority.

If the interests of the child so require, the Family Court may entrust the exercise of parental authority to a single parent.

The exercise of the right of access and accommodation may be denied to the other parent only on serious grounds.

Parents who separate may jointly agree on the exercise of parental authority by each of them, and draft a convention.

The Convention shall specify:

Parents may submit the agreement to a judge for approval.

Upon application by the parents, the judge may decide to approve the agreement or refuse to do so if he finds that the parents' consent has not been freely given or that the child's interest is not sufficiently safeguarded.

In the case of divorce by mutual consent, registered parental agreements are compulsory.

The registered agreement may be amended or supplemented at any time by the judge, at the request of a parent or the Crown (who may be seized by a third party, parent or not).

If only one parent exercises parental authority, the parent shall exercise it subject to the rights of the other parent: supervision of the child's education and maintenance.

  FYI : the judge may order the prohibition to leave France without the permission of the 2 parents. This prohibition is included in the searched people file by the Public Prosecutor.

The Family Court Judge (Jaf) shall have jurisdiction, in the event of the separation of the parents, over matters relating to:

It can be seized by one of the parents or by the public ministry (may be seized by a third party, parent or not).

The judge must safeguard the interests of minor children and take measures to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of the child's relationship with each parent.

For this purpose, exceptionally, at the request of the person directly concerned or JAF, the public prosecutor may request the assistance of the public force (police or gendarmerie) to enforce a Jaf decision.

It may decide that parental authority shall be exercised:

  • either in common by both parents (as a rule),
  • either by only one of the parents (in special circumstances).

The judge shall also determine the residence of the child and the conditions under which the right of access and accommodation..

The judge may provisionally assign the enjoyment of the family's dwelling to one of the 2 parents. It is possible to agree on the amount of an occupancy allowance. The judge shall fix the duration of such use for a maximum period of 6 months.

The decisions of the judge may be amended at any time, if new elements are present, at the request of one of the parents (using form cerfa n°11530 or public prosecutor (may be seized by a third party, parent or not).

The judge may request a social investigation or a medical-psychological examination which will not be used in the divorce debate. A counter-investigation or a new examination may be carried out at the request of one of the spouses.

It may hear minors who are capable of discernment, on their own initiative or at their request. When he takes the initiative of such a hearing, he may personally conduct such a hearing or may appoint any person or service of his choice to do so. Where the minor so requests, his hearing may be dismissed only by a decision giving special reasons.

The judge may order penalty to ensure the implementation of its decision. Where a parent deliberately obstructs the execution of a decision laying down the conditions for the exercise of parental authority, he may order the parent to pay a fine not exceeding €10,000..

Application to the Family Court (parental authority, right of access, maintenance...)

Cerfa n° 11530*09 - Ministry of Justice

In case of disagreement between the parents, the judge has the possibility to propose to the parents a family mediation to seek a consensual exercise of parental authority.

If they accept this proposal, the judge appoints a family mediator.

  FYI : the judge may order the prohibition to leave France without the permission of the 2 parents. This prohibition is included in the searched people file by the Public Prosecutor.

Rights of non-parental parent

The judge may decide, in the interests of the children, that parental authority will be exercised by one of the parents (in special circumstances).

In this case, the other parent retains the right and duty to supervise the maintenance and education of the child.

In the absence of agreement between the parents, the judge shall grant the parent who is not exercising parental authority a right of access and accommodation, which may be denied only on serious grounds. This right can only be denied in the interest of the child.

The parent must be informed of important choices about the life of his or her child and must respect his or her obligation to maintain and educate.

The parent who does not exercise parental authority may refer the matter to the Family Court if he or she considers that the other parent is acting against the interests of the child.

Obligations of non-parental parent

He must contribute with the other parent to the child's upkeep.

The maintenance obligation is most often performed in the form of a maintenance..

  FYI : the parent exercising parental authority must inform the other parent of important choices relating to the person of the child (including schooling).