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Parental authority after a separation or divorce

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Family law

Veronique from Laval is recently separated from her husband and, during their marriage they had 3 children. During the marriage, they tried to make decisions regarding the children together. After their separation, Veronique has the custody of the children and she is unsure of who can make the decisions concerning the children for the future.

Coparenting Despite Separation

Article 394 of the Quebec Civil Code stipulates that: “The spouses together take in hand the moral and material direction of the family, exercise parental authority and assume the tasks resulting therefrom.”

This principle of parental authority continues after a separation. Although one parent may have the custody of the children, this does not mean that the other parent does not participate in the decision-making for the children.

Indeed, both parents have to choose and make the important decisions together for the children, in terms of: the choice of school; religion; as well as the medical and dental care for children. The parents must also choose together the children’s activities (sports; cultural, etc.)

The custodial parent has the opportunity to make everyday decisions concerning the children, but should consult the non-custodial parent when it comes to important issues in the life of their child.

Unfortunately, it occurs that parents cannot agree on an essential decision concerning the child, and they will have to consider making a Demand (Motion) to the Court in order that a judge renders a decision that must be made in the best interests of the children.

Although a couple separates, they will have to continue co-parenting together in the best interests of the children. The Quebec government offers a free information seminar session for parents in order to help them through their separation. The relevant information can be obtained on this government of Quebec website:

http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/programmes/mediation/seance-parentalite-a.htm

Gianina Fuschini, Attorney-at-law
Alepin, Gauthier Avocats Inc.

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