Disputes concerning a child

Disputes concerning a child

The parents have equal rights and duties towards the child. The parents must address the child related matters, especially those related to child care and upbringing, by consensus. Both parents have equal duty to take care of the child, regardless of whether the parents live together in the marriage (without being married), or are divorced (have not been married) and live separately from each other.

The disputes between the parents arise when:
- they fail to agree regarding the establishment of the habitual residence of the child;

- regarding the access to the child when the couple is separated;

- regarding the access of the child to the close relatives.

Disputes concerning the habitual residence of the child

There are no disputes between the parents who live together regarding which parent the child should live with. However, the father and the mother who live separately from each other must decide with which parent the children will live and must resolve this matter. The essential rule is that the parents themselves agree with whom the child will live.

The mediation procedure can help in the search for a peaceful dispute resolution and a mutually acceptable compromise. Unfortunately, the parents not always manage to find a compromise and joint solution regarding the establishment of the habitual residence of the child. Where dispute arises in relation to the establishment of the habitual residence, the decision shall be adopted by the third party, i.e. by the court.
 

Disputes concerning the access to the child

The parents have equal rights of access to the child and involvement in the upbringing of the child. The parents should agree amongst themselves regarding the procedure of access to the child and the involvement in his or her upbringing. The father (mother) who lives together with the child should ensure the maximum access of the father or mother who does not live with the child to the child and the maximum opportunities to get involved in upbringing of the child. It is prohibited to interfere with the parents' access to the child, except where access to the child poses threat to the interests of the child. Interference with the access to the child is treated not only as violation of the right of one of the parents who lives separately but also as violation of the interests of the child.

As with all other matters related to child raising and upbringing, the matter of access to the child and involvement in upbringing of the child should be resolved by consensus between the parents. Should the parents fail to agree, the dispute concerning the access to the child and involvement in upbringing of the child shall be resolved by the court.

Disputes concerning the contact with the extended family

Children have the right to communicate with their relatives if such communication does not harm the interests of the child. It should be noted that the legislation provides special measures for resolving disputes between parents and relatives of a child only in cases where the dispute involves close relatives. Close relatives are the grandparents and siblings of the child. The parents of the child have the duty to ensure communication of the child with close relatives. If the parents refuse to enable the child to communicate with the close relatives, then the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service and court, two institutions stipulated in the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, can oblige the parents to enable the child to communicate with the close relatives.

The dispute settlement provisions

There are general provisions adopted regarding all child related disputes pending before the courts of the Republic of Lithuania.

The participation of the territorial division of the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service is mandatory in the proceedings relating to children.

After having examined the conditions of the family environment the territorial division of the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service provides the court with the conclusion on the dispute.

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