Loss of parental authority: what it is, characteristics and causes

In the context of divorce, the loss of parental authority is widely denounced. This, which should not be confused with legal custody, refers to the obligations and rights that parents have with their children, to provide for their needs and to ensure that they are satisfied.

In practice, all parents hold parental authority, even in the event of separation. However, there are a number of situations in which this can be lost, usually through some sort of parental abuse or crime.

Below we will see some brush strokes on parental authority and how it can be lost.

    What is parental authority?

    In legal terms, parental authority designates all of the obligations, rights and duties of parents with regard to their child with regard to his person and his property, as long as they are still non-emancipated children or adolescents, or adults declared legally incompetent. While it may be natural when parents live together, marry and get along well, exercising parental authority can become a daunting task when the couple break up or disagree on key issues of parenting. of their children.

    In practice, parents are responsible for caring for their children and meeting all their needs, as well as nurturing and ensuring the best intellectual, psychological, social and emotional development. Thus, parental authority it also refers to your education, material maintenance and protection of your health. This parental authority includes aspects as basic as feeding him, taking him to school, to the doctor, clothing him and all that is necessary for him to be happy and constitute himself as a future functional individual of the family. society.

      Who has parental authority?

      Parental authority may be exercised by several people, depending on the case.

      1. Married Parents

      In most cases, those who exercise this authority are married and parents together. In married couples with children, parental authority is exercised jointly and, in principle, no particular legal problem arises. This is the most typical and least controversial situation.

      2. Divorced parents

      Usually, when it comes to parental authority, it is in the context of a divorce. Both parents wonder who will end up wielding such authority, perhaps confusing the idea of ​​legal custody of your child with that of this type of authority.

      The truth is that parental authority remains joint even in the event of divorce, at least as it is conceived in most state civil codes.

      It is, in principle, independent of the custody agreements concluded after the separation. In other words, both parents continue to have an obligation to ensure that their child receives what he needs, no matter where he lives and with whom. However, judges can entrust parental authority to a single parent if they believe that the best interests of the child are at stake.

        3. Deceased father or mother

        If one of the parents dies, parental authority will rest exclusively with the surviving parent, with all the modifications that this implies.

        4. Death of both parents

        In the event of the death of both parents of the child, the child will be subject to the parental authority of a family council or legal guardian. Here there may be several options, such as grandparents, uncles, older siblings, family friends with legal guardianship…

        5. Single parents

        Much depends on the country, but many assume that the burden of parental authority will depend on whether or not the child is recognized. If the child is recognized by only one parent, parental authority will be conferred on this parent. Normally, this authority is automatically entrusted to the mother if her name appears on the child’s birth certificate..

          What is the use of parental authority?

          Parental authority is used to authorize procedures concerning the child. On the one hand, we have the classic administrative procedures, such as signing a permit to go on a school trip, an appointment with the dentist, registering for extracurricular activities and the like which, given its low legal importance, does not require the validation of one of the parents.

          The steps which would require the authorization of the two parents holding parental authority would be bureaucratic aspects of greater importance, such as a change of name, the request for a new nationality, registration in a new school. .

            Causes: When is parental authority lost?

            Parental authority is generally exercised by the parents until their majority or until their emancipation. However, the loss may occur long before the child has reached the legal age in situations deemed prejudicial to the interests of the child.. According to the civil codes of most countries, the loss of parental authority can occur in the following scenarios.

            1. Parent who denied paternity

            In the event that the father or mother has denied paternity or maternity and had to recognize it by virtue of an administrative decision or a court decision.

            2. Parental abandonment

            In the event that the father or mother or the legal guardian exercises parental authority abandoning your child without just cause (e.g. illness, disability, kidnapping…), endangering your life or causing you serious harm through negligence.

            Situations are common in which one or both parents break off their relationship with their children, which causes a lot of difficulties for those who take care of the little ones.

              3. Abuse

              Parental authority is withdrawn from the parent who has abused his child physically or mentally, or who has damaged his integrity and his physical and mental health.

              4. Sexual exploitation

              In case the father or mother promote the sexual exploitation of your child for your own benefit or for the benefit of others through trafficking, smuggling or child pornography, prostitution and sex tourism.

                5. Crimes

                For a crime committed by one parent against the other or against their children and take care of your life and your physical and mental integrity.

                The loss of parental authority implies the permanent deprivation of the powers, rights and certain obligations that the parent has towards his child. This loss is a penalty imposed by the legislation of each State from which one or both parents are deprived of the legal capacity they normally have to exercise it with their children.

                Bibliographic references

                • Sin author (sf). Loss of parental authority. Judicial Documentation Center. Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador.
                • Kruk, Edward (2013). The presumption of parental equality: social justice in the legal determination of parenthood after divorce. Montreal: MQUP. 2013. ISBN 9780773542914
                • Méndez-Leiva, JC, and Suárez-Fernández, GC (sf). Legal analysis of the suspension, loss and termination of parental authority in the Family Code. (Graduation seminar for obtaining the law degree) Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Managua.

                Leave a Comment