Family Law

Regulation of Parental Responsibilities

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Regularization of Parental Responsibilities

The regularization of parental responsibilities in Portugal is an essential legal process to define the rights and duties of parents in relation to their children, especially in situations of separation or divorce. This approach aims to ensure the well-being and interests of the child by establishing arrangements regarding custody, visitation, education and support. The importance of obtaining specialized legal advice is highlighted, ensuring that all decisions made reflect the best interests of the child and that the rights of both parents are respected and safeguarded.

The Need for Regulation of Parental Responsibilities

The family, as the fundamental nucleus of society, faces constant challenges. One of these challenges is the regulation of parental responsibilities, especially when parents do not live together. This need can arise in different situations and contexts. Whether due to divorce, separation or simply the decision not to cohabit, it is essential that there is a clear structure for the well-being of minor children.

What is regulation of parental responsibilities?

The regulation of parental responsibilities refers to the set of rights and duties that parents have in relation to their minor children. These responsibilities cover aspects such as education, health, well-being and integral development of the child.

When parents do not live together, whether due to divorce, separation or other circumstances, it may be necessary to formally establish how these responsibilities will be shared or distributed.

Regulation can be mutually agreed between parents or, in case of disagreement, determined by a court. The main objective is always to ensure the best interests of the child.

Definition and Objectives of Regulation

The regulation of parental responsibilities is not just a set of rules, but rather a guide that aims to guarantee the best for the child or young person. This regulation covers everything from support to education and growth, ensuring that both parents play their role. Regardless of whether it is established by mutual agreement or court ruling, the regulation must contain clear guidelines on custody, residence, cohabitation and, if applicable, alimony.

Difference between shared custody and sole custody

Shared Custody: In this regime, both parents share parental responsibilities equally. This means that they both have an active role in making important decisions related to the child's life, such as education, health and other activities. The child may live with both parents, alternating periods of time, or have a permanent residence with one parent while maintaining a visitation regime with the other. The goal is for both parents to continue to play a significant role in the child's life.

Exclusive Guard: In this regime, only one parent has primary responsibility for the child, while the other may have visitation rights. The sole custodial parent makes the main decisions about the child's life and is where the child resides most of the time. The other parent, while they may have visitation rights, does not have the same level of influence on daily or long-term decisions regarding the child.

How to regulate parental responsibilities in Portugal?

In Portugal, the regulation of parental responsibilities can be carried out in two main ways:

By Mutual Agreement: If both parents agree on parental responsibilities, they can draw up a plan that establishes the conditions, such as the child's residence, visitation regime, maintenance, among other aspects. This agreement must be submitted for approval to the Public Prosecutor's Office and subsequently approved by a judge.

By Court: If the parents cannot reach an agreement, either of them can go to court to decide on the regulation of parental responsibilities. The court, after listening to both parties and evaluating all the circumstances, will make a decision always bearing in mind the “best interests of the child”.

In both cases, the aim is to ensure that the child's rights and well-being are protected and that both parents fulfill their responsibilities.

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Determination of Alimony

Alimony is one of the crucial aspects of regulation. This pension, which is due until the child turns 25, is not determined by a simple mathematical calculation. Instead, it requires a careful analysis of the child's needs and the economic and family circumstances of those involved. This ensures that the child has access to all basic needs, regardless of the parents' financial situation.

Regulation in Case of Divorce

Divorce is one of the most common situations that require the regulation of parental responsibilities. Depending on the nature of the divorce – consensual or contested – the process may vary. In consensual cases, the agreement can be approved by a Civil Registrar. However, in contested divorces, the sentence is handed down by a court. In both cases, the main focus is to ensure the “best interests of the child”.

Children's Residence

The place where the child resides is a central issue in regulation. You can opt for an alternating residence regime, where the child spends equal time with both parents, or an exclusive residence regime, where the child lives mainly with one of the parents. Regardless of the regime chosen, the objective is always to guarantee the stability and well-being of the child.

What to do if the parent does not pay child support?

If the parent does not comply with their obligation to pay the stipulated maintenance, there are several measures that can be taken.

How is alimony determined?

Alimony is determined based on the child's needs and the parents' economic capacity. In Portugal, there is no fixed table to calculate this value, but several factors are considered, such as:

  • Parents’ income (salaries, rent, other benefits).
  • Parents' fixed expenses (housing, utilities, debts).
  • Specific needs of the child (education, health, extracurricular activities).
  • The standard of living that the child had before his parents separated.

The value is established to ensure that the child maintains a standard of living similar to that enjoyed when the parents were together, always taking into account the financial capacity of both parents.

Is it possible to change an already established parental responsibilities agreement?

Yes, it is possible to change a parental responsibility agreement. If both parties agree to the changes, they can submit a new agreement to the court for approval. If there is a disagreement, either parent can ask the court to review the agreement.

What is considered when determining the “best interests of the child”?

The concept of “best interests of the child” is central to family law in Portugal and refers to the set of conditions that best meet the physical, emotional, educational and safety well-being of the child. When determining “best interests”, the following are considered:

  • The ability of each parent to meet the child's needs.
  • The child's relationship with each parent.
  • The stability of the home environment offered.
  • The physical and mental health of parents.
  • The child's opinion, depending on their age and maturity.
  • Any history of violence or abuse.
  • Other factors that may affect the child's well-being.

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What happens if one of the parents wants to move to another country with the child?

If one parent wants to move to another country with the child, the other parent's consent must be obtained. If there is no consent, the parent who wishes to move must request permission from the court. The court will assess the situation taking into account the “best interests of the child”. Factors such as the reason for the move, the impact on the child's relationship with the other parent and living conditions in the new country will be considered. If the court finds that the move is beneficial to the child and is in his or her best interests, it may authorize the move. Otherwise, you may deny it.

How can lawyers help with the Regulation of Parental Responsibilities

Family law lawyers play a crucial role in regulating parental responsibilities. With a deep knowledge of legislation and a sensitive understanding of family dynamics, these professionals can guide parents through each step of the process. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Legal Advice: First of all, a lawyer can clarify the rights and duties of each parent, ensuring that both are aware of their legal responsibilities and the best practices to follow.
  • Mediation: In situations where there is disagreement between parents, the lawyer can act as a mediator, facilitating dialogue and helping to find mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Preparation of Agreements: With their expertise, the lawyer can help draft clear and fair agreements that reflect the needs of the child and the capabilities of each parent.
  • Representation in Court: If the case goes to court, having a lawyer on your side ensures that the interests of the child and parents are adequately represented and defended.
  • Legal Updates: Laws and regulations may change. A lawyer stays up to date with the latest legislative changes, ensuring that agreements and processes are always in compliance with current law.
  • Emotional Support: In addition to legal support, lawyers often offer an objective perspective, helping parents stay focused on what's really important: the child's well-being.

The Advogado-Divorcio.pt team is prepared to respond to the needs of its clients anywhere in Portugal. Whether in Lisbon, Porto, Setúbal, Braga, Aveiro, Leiria, Coimbra, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Bragança, Viseu, Guarda, Castelo Branco, Santarém, Portalegre, Évora, Beja or Faro, in all districts of Portugal, the Our divorce and parental responsibility lawyers are ready to guide and represent their clients in processes related to Family Law. In moments as delicate as a divorce, counting on the expertise and national coverage of Advogado-Divorcio.pt is essential for a fair and efficient resolution.

Why choose AdvogadoDivorcio.pt?

Family law is an area that requires not only legal knowledge, but also a deep understanding of the emotional nuances involved. At AdvogadoDivorcio.pt, we are dedicated to providing a high quality legal service, always keeping in mind the human particularities of each case.

At AdvogadoDivorcio.pt, we value the relationship with our clients, placing transparency and professionalism at the center of everything we do. If you need assistance with family law issues, we are at your disposal to offer the necessary legal support. We invite you to schedule a consultation with us and learn more about our approach and services.

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