According to the Family Code of Ukraine (hereinafter – the FCU), parents are obliged to take care of the child’s health, his/her physical, spiritual and moral development. They are also obliged to ensure that the child receives a complete general secondary education, and respect the child. It is forbidden to humiliate a child, exploit him/her, apply physical punishment to him/her. At the same time, however, it is sad to state, that not all parents take proper care of their children, but in old age they claim their support from these very children. To prevent such unfair requirements from unscrupulous parents, it makes sense to file a claim for deprivation of parental rights timely.
The list of parental responsibilities is specified in Art. 150 of FCU.
The grounds for deprivation of parental rights
Article 164 of the FCU establishes an exhaustive list of grounds for depriving a mother or a father of a child of parental rights. These include:
- leaving a child without a valid reason in a maternity hospital or other health care institution and lack of parental care for him for six months
- evasion of raising children (conscious and deliberate lack of care, ignoring the needs of the child, etc.);
- chronic alcoholism or drug addiction (it is necessary to have an appropriate medical certificates)
- exploitation of the child, including persuading to begging and vagrancy;
- convictions for committing an intentional criminal offense against a child; • child abuse (humiliation, physical or mental abuse, etc.).
Failure to pay child support is NOT a reason for deprivation of parental rights.
A mother or a father may be deprived of parental rights for all or some of their children.
The procedure for deprivation of paternity
In accordance with Art. 165 of the FCU a claim for deprivation of parental rights can be filed by:
- one of the parents,
- the person in whose family the child lives,
- health care institution,
- educational or preschool educational institution,
- body of guardianship and custody,
- the child himself, if he/she has reached the age of 14 at the moment of filing the claim.
A feature for these disputes is that according to parts 4, 5 of the Art. 19 of the FCU, the guardianship and custody body is an obligatory party. Thus, it must be indicated in the claim as a third party that does not make independent claims.
The same body must submit a written conclusion on the resolution of the dispute on the basis of information obtained as a result of examination of the living conditions of parents, as well as on the basis of documents relating to the case. It is better to obtain such a conclusion before filing a claim.
However, if the custody and guardianship authority refused to provide conclusion, then a claim may be filed without it. In this case, it is necessary to ask the court to demand such a conclusion, since the obligation to collect evidence lies with the plaintiff.
A person may be deprived of parental rights only in relation to a child under eighteen years of age and only on the grounds provided for in Art. 164 of the FCU.
Circumstances that must be proved for deprivation of parental rights:
- father or a mother does not communicate with the child and does not show initiative in such communication.
- a father or a mother does not participate in the child’s education – neither attend school, nor help in preparing the child for school, nor attend school events with the participation of the child, and so on.
- a father or a mother does not participate in the out-of-school development of the child – does not offer study groups to which the child can go, does not take the child to the study groups to which the child is already enrolled, and also does not attend events organized by study groups with participation of the child, etc.
- a father or a mother does not take care about the child’s health – does not visit the child during illness, is not interested in the state of his/her health, does not pay bills from medical institutions;
- interferes with the possibility of a child visiting other countries for her/his spiritual, internal development and broadening her/his horizons;
- does not pay funds for the maintenance of the child, which in fact does not fulfill the obligation to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, etc.
The claim is supplied with the following documents:
- a copy of passport, identification code, marriage certificate of the child’s parents (if any);
- a copy of the child’s birth certificate;
- documents proving existence of circumstances for deprivation of parental rights;
- conclusion of the body of guardianship and custody or an application for issuing of such conclusion at the court’s request;
- copy of the claim;
- original of receipt of the court fee payment (it is 0.4 of the minimum subsistence level for one person capable of working, in 2019 it was UAH 768.40)
After that, the statement of claim is signed, the date of drawing up is put down and submitted to the court at the place of registration (residence) of the defendant.
If the claim for the deprivation of parental rights is satisfied, the court simultaneously makes a decision on the recovery of alimony for the child
Legal consequences of deprivation of parental rights
The entry into force of a court decision depriving a father and / or a mother of parental rights is the loss of all rights based on kinship with the child.
More specifically, the legal consequences of deprivation of parental rights are described in Art. 166 of the FCU, according to which if a father and / or a mother are deprived of their rights, they:
- lose the right to raise children;
- lose non-propertial rights to children;
- cease to be representatives of the child;
- lose the right to benefits and state aid;
- cannot be adoptive parents and guardians;
- cannot count on the property rights related to paternity and maternity, which would be awarded to them in case of incapacity for work.
It should be noted that a father and a mother deprived of parental rights are not released from the obligation to maintain a child until he or she reaches 18 years of age (Part 2 of Article 166 of the Criminal Code). In addition, parents are obliged to participate in the additional costs for children (Article 185 of the Civil Code) and to compensate for the damage caused by the child (Article 1 183 of the Civil Code of Ukraine).
Restoration of parental rights
Deprivation of parental rights is indefinite. However, it is not irreversible. The parental rights of the parents or one of them can be restored if these persons have changed their behavior towards the child or have recovered from alcoholism or drug addiction. The question of the restoration of parental rights is decided by the court at the lawsuit of the person deprived of them. A person, by filing a claim, must prove that her behavior has changed and that she/he can provide a proper upbringing of the child. In order to consider the case on the restoration of parental rights, it is also necessary to obtain a written opinion from the guardianship and custody authority. Deprivation of parental rights is not irrevocable If the claim was refused, then re-filing a claim for the restoration of parental rights is allowed no earlier than one year after the refusal.
Deprivation of parental rights is not irreversible
If the claim has been denied, the repeat application for restoration of parental rights is allowed not earlier than one year after such denial.
If the child has already been adopted, the claim for restoration of parental rights cannot be satisfied until the adoption is revoked by a court or declared invalid.
To obtain a positive decision, it is important not only to know the law, but also to be guided in judicial practice, to properly collect and timely submit appropriate evidence.
Restoration of parental rights is possible only until the child reaches the age of majority (18 years).