Questions and Answers on parental custody and visitation with the child

What does parental custody and contact with the child depend on?

With all the issues that arise in connection with living apart, it is important to leave no stone unturned in order to find an agreed solution - over and above all misunderstandings and injuries. This is especially true for separated in the interests of their children.

Parental care and visitation rights are legally regarded as different areas of regulation, even if they are perceived by the parents concerned as one and the same thing - namely the relationship with the children and its change as a result of being separated from the other parent.

Parental custody covers decisions concerning the child's conduct of life which are of particular importance and cannot easily be reversed. It is divided into several areas: personal care, right of residence, health care, decision-making powers in administrative matters and asset management.

Even a judicial procedure always only relates to the regulation of vistiation rights or custody, whereby the court always works towards an amicable solution, which then often also includes the regulation of the other area.

Parental custody and vistiationrights exist independently from one another, and the parent who does not have custody is also entitled to contact with the child they share. Similarly, the continued existence of joint parental custody does not depend on contact.

Is shared parental responsibility always maintained?

German family law does not distinguish between shared and common parental custody. The retention of joint parental custody requires the willingness and ability of both parents to cooperate. Parental custody is transferred to one parent alone upon application if the level of cooperation between the parents is insufficient.

Joint parental custody of parents married to each other survives divorce. Contrary to what many of those affected imagine, the family court does not decide on the continuation of parental custody in the event of divorce. Only if one of the parents files an application for settlement of parental custody in connection with the separation or divorce will the court deal with it in separate proceedings. Many applications for sole custody fail.

However, case law does not consider the maintenance of joint parental custody to be the preferred option over sole custody. It always depends on whether there is a concrete danger to the welfare of the children concerned if joint parental custody is maintained.

Are everyday questions part of parental custody?

n order to avoid the aggravation of parental conflicts that is always to be expected when an application is filed in court, the possibilities of defusing the conflict within the framework of a parental agreement, if necessary by granting power of attorney for individual areas of regulation, should be exhausted first.

It is important to remember that many everyday questions can also be solved alone by the parentin whose household the children live, insofar as these questions do not fall within the scope of parental care due to the lack of specific implications.