Having a child: Separation or divorce - effects on children

Parental responsibility after separation or divorce

The couple must ensure that the child’s interests are safeguarded.

Parents can use a mediator to reach agreement on various aspects of separation or divorce, including their responsibilities to their children. The process lasts around 2 months and costs a maximum of EUR 50 per person.

Find out how to apply for family mediation. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, they will have to go to court.

As a general rule, parental responsibility continues to be shared by both parents, even after separation. Important issues about the child’s education, health, and the sale of property, for example, must continue to be decided jointly.

However, there may be situations where, in order to safeguard the child’s interests, the court chooses to assign parental responsibility to only one parent.

Payment of alimony

The child may live with only one parent, or with both parents on an alternate basis. If the child lives with only one parent, the other parent is entitled to visit the child frequently and to be kept informed about their education and living conditions.

Parents have a responsibility to contribute to their child’s maintenance, and therefore a parent who does not live with the child will pay monthly child support. This support is intended to cover not only food, but also education, housing, clothing, health, and other expenses.

If a parent fails to pay child support, the child may be entitled to receive that support through the Child Support Guarantee Fund.

Information updated on 16 August 2023