Judicial Paternity and Joint Custody of Minor Children Effective May 1


Cabinet of the Minister of Justice announced on Tuesday that as of May 1, 2013, the National Ordinances to establish the judicial paternity and the joint custody of minor children went into effect.

As per article 207 of the ordinance, "the paternity of a man can be established though he may be deceased, based on the grounds that he is the procreator of said child, or the man, as the life partner of the mother, has agreed upon the act that has resulted in the procreation of a child".

A request for paternity can be expressed by the mother; if the child is less than twelve years old; by the child; or by the court of guardianship on behalf of the child, with the mother’s consent.

The National Ordinance on Joint Custody states that having custody of a child obligates parents to care and provide for that child. This includes taking care of the child’s physical, spiritual and safety needs.

During a marriage, parents enjoy the privilege of joint custody of their children. Upon dissolution of a marriage, other than death, parents will enjoy the same privilege. However; article 251a states that, based on the request of one or both parents, a judge can grant sole custody to one parent if he/she finds that a change of care is in the best interest of the child.

In the past, joint custody had to be requested by one or both parents. The judge would then determine if custody should be granted solely to one parent based on the best interest of the child.

According to the amendment of article 253a, this states that in case of a dispute between parents who have joint custody, said dispute may be submitted to the judge of the Court of First Instance upon the request of either parent or both parents.

Article, 253a further states, the judge may, upon the request of either parent or both, establish an arrangement concerning joint custody.

Based on the competence of either the father or mother, he or she can petition the judge to grant them sole or joint custody of the minor child or children. Provisions have also been made as stated in articles 377a & e, that custody of a child can be granted to someone other than a parent, such as the grandparents or someone close to the child.