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Until reaching the age of majority, children are under parental responsibility (parental authority). The holder of parental responsibility has a duty to look after the children and their property, and to act on behalf of the children in their personal and property relations.
Both parents exercise parental authority jointly. If the parents are not married, the authority may be exercised by both of them, or upon their agreement, by one of them. If one of the parents holds the parental authority, the other has visiting rights.
If parents exercise their parental authority especially badly, or do not care about the children and these circumstances may endanger physical, mental or moral development of the children, a court may deprive the parent (one or both) of the parental responsibility, or a court may issue a warning and lay under an obligation to prevent actions.
If both parents are deprived of the parental responsibility, the court obligates the orphan’s court to appoint a guardian for the children.
If the parents divorce or split up, the authority is exercised by both of them, or upon their agreement, by one of them.
In all questions relating child’s development, parents accept the decision together. In case of a dispute, such differences shall be adjudicated by an orphan’s court unless otherwise provided for by the law. If an orphan’s court cannot adjudicate the differences between parents, they shall go to the court.
If the parents conclude an agreement on the question of parental responsibility and performs it on their own free will, it is not necessary to get approval of any authority or court.
In case of a dispute, differences shall be adjudicated by an orphan’s court. If an orphan’s court cannot adjudicate the differences between parents, or an orphan’s court ruling is not carried out, the parents shall go to the district (city) court.
If the parents go to court, they ask for the joint custody or single custody. Besides that the judge decides the questions of maintenance, place of residence etc., if necessary. The parent, who has single custody, exercises the parental authority over the child, and that includes rights to act on behalf of the children in their personal and property relations, and rights to determine residence of the child. Each of the parents has the right of access to the children who are left with the other parent.
Each parent must participate in the maintenance of those children who remain with the other parent.
If the court decides that one parent shall have single custody of a child, this parent has rights to decide all questions relating to the child, but the other parent has rights and duty to maintain personal relation and contacts with children. The parent, who does not live together with his or her children, has rights to get information about development of the children, their health, interests, and success in school.
If both parents shall have joint custody of children, both parents may act on behalf of their children in their personal and property relations. In all questions relating child’s development, parents accept the decision together.
Court proceedings in civil matters shall be regulated by the norms of the Latvian Civil Procedure Law.
In the interests of minors, pursuant to a reasoned request by a participant in the matter or at the discretion of the court, the assize or part of it thereof may be declared as closed to the public.
According to the Latvian court rules, the cases concerning children interests should be reviewed in an emergency procedure.
According to the persons request, the court may exempt the person from payment of judicial expenses, diminish them or divide the payment in terms.
The judgment can be appealed in the Regional court (court of appeal) , and after that in the Supreme court (the court of cassation).
Court judgments and decisions shall be executed after they come into lawful effect.
Adjudications by a court and other adjudications shall be executed by a bailiff.
An application for the recognition and execution of an adjudication of a foreign court shall be within the jurisdiction of the district (city) court for the territory in which the adjudication is to be executed.
The court verifies if the grounds of the recognizable decision comply with Latvian law and are not in conflict with the social or moral standards in Latvia and takes a decision of recognition.
The person, who wants to oppose the Latvian court’s recognition of a decision on parental responsibility issued by a court in another Member State, is entitled to appeal the recognition in the court corresponding to the court that issued the recognition.
If the case on parental responsibility is justifiable to the Latvian court, the case will be heard according to the Latvian law, without regard to nationality of the parties.
Agreements and instruments which have been made in foreign states shall be considered on the basis of the state where they have been formulated and shall be considered to be valid unless a transaction therein is contrary to public policy and Latvian law.
Last update: 13-04-2007