Concern with (parental) care

Being a parent is not always easy – that is true when mother and father live together and take care of their children. If the parents are separated or if there is a dispute between them (or with the youth welfare office), things get complicated. However, if everyone: r knows parental rights (and their limits), this can defuse some parental disputes.

Married parents automatically have joint custody of all children born into the marriage. This also applies to children who are not of biological origin from the husband. In this case, the husband’s so-called legal paternity exists, which can only be removed through legal challenge.

If the child’s father is not married to the mother, he can obtain joint custody by means of a declaration of custody that he submits together with the child’s mother. Like the recognition of paternity, this can take place before the birth.

If the mother does not want to submit a declaration of custody, the family court can be called on and joint custody can be transferred. This is fundamentally in the best interests of the child, but it can also be rejected if the conflicts between the parents are too great and there is reason to fear that the child will be harmed.

The content of parental care

In all decisions concerning the child, the child’s well-being must be taken into account. It therefore depends on what custody actually includes. In summary, these are personal care, financial care and legal representation.

The focus is usually on personal care, which includes all personal decisions such as residence, school, health, travel, etc. Financial concern is relevant to banking or managing the child’s wealth.

The parents make all essential decisions in these areas together. In contrast to this are the so-called decisions of daily life made by the parent with whom the child is currently staying.

Examples of important decisions are the daycare or school registration, a planned operation, a trip to risk areas, religious upbringing or opening a savings account.

Matters of daily life include hobbies, friends, school trips, routine medical examinations or treatments.

Parental custody also includes the right and the duty to find out about the child’s affairs. So the parent with whom the child does not live cannot ask the other to keep him informed. After all, he is entitled to speak to the teachers, doctors, etc. himself.

Conflicts in individual cases

If the parents cannot agree on a single question, such as the child’s baptism, they can go to the family court. The court transfers the decision to the parent whose position on this issue is most likely to serve the best interests of the child. An example from the recent past: The decision as to whether the 16-year-old child willing to be vaccinated should be vaccinated against COVID-19 was transferred to the court of the parent who agreed to the vaccination.

Disagreement on an area of ​​concern

If the parents cannot agree on an issue that requires a permanent or repeated decision, an area of ​​custody can be transferred to one of the parents in court. The most common case is the right to determine residence, i.e. the decision about where the child lives. However, it is also possible, for example, that parental custody in the areas of school or health is transferred to one of the parents.

Parents arguing about

If the parents cannot agree on any essential question, the child suffers twofold: on the one hand, because the parents argue over him and also because important decisions are postponed.

In this case, too, the family court can revoke joint custody and transfer sole custody to one parent. The hurdles for this are high, however, because the constitutionally protected core of parental rights is affected and since it is fundamentally in the child’s interest that both parents take their responsibility seriously.

In borderline cases, attempts are made to improve communication between parents and the child’s situation by imposing legal requirements such as participation in parenting counseling or the use of family help.

If one parent voluntarily gives up custody, this must also be confirmed by the court, but no examination takes place.

Child welfare risk

The family court can also withdraw custody of one or both parents without a request from the parents, e.g. at the instigation of the youth welfare office, if the mental, emotional or physical well-being of the child is endangered. This does not require physical abuse.

One case from the recent past that made it to the Federal Constitutional Court was based on the constant excessive demands of a child at school, which led to serious disturbances. Since the mother had no understanding of sending the child to a suitable school, parental care was withdrawn from her.


If there is “only” a conflict between the parents, there is a way of calming the situation down without going to court. This is also frequently used as the mildest means in ongoing legal proceedings. With the custody power of attorney, one parent authorizes the other to act alone in certain questions – or in all custody matters.

The custody power of attorney has the advantages that the right to information remains, no judicial process is necessary and the power of attorney can be revoked.

Sole custody

If sole custody exists from the outset, the problem can arise, e.g. when traveling abroad, that the consent of the other custodian is asked. Since there is no court decision in this case, the youth welfare office issues a negative certificate for such cases that there is no other person with custody.

I am at your disposal for questions about parental custody and family law!

Your lawyer Uta von Lonski

This article can only provide general information, without being binding in individual cases, and does not replace individual, qualified legal advice.

Reuterstr. 120, 51467 Bergisch Gladbach
Phone: 02202 24 74 174
Email: [email protected]

You can find more information on my website, Facebook and Instagram.

Uta from Lonski

To person: Lawyer Uta von Lonski has lived with her family in Bergisch Gladbach for many years. She has been working as a lawyer since 1999 and specializes in family and inheritance law as well as in advance directives. Your office is centrally located in Bergisch Gladbach-Hebborn.

To the office: Lonski’s practice focuses on family and inheritance law as well as pension contracts.

To philosophy: Advice and representation in inheritance law, conflicts in family law, and dealing with illness and weakness require a sure instinct. Is it about maintaining good relationships? To enforce in the event of a conflict? A quick, clean agreement?

In order to keep the personal and economic burden low, I attach great importance to carefully working out the client’s interests.

To the focal points: I advise you as a precautionary measure in order to shape the marriage, separation, death or illness in your and in the interests of your family.

I represent you in and out of court, in divorce proceedings, child matters, maintenance matters and many other family matters. I also stand up for your claims in inheritance disputes.

Finally, I will inform you about the different options for taking precautions in the event of illness and dementia.

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