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Last update: 30-05-2007
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Parental responsibility - Slovakia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term “parental responsibility” mean in practical terms? What are the rights and obligations of a holder of parental responsibility? 1.
2. As a general rule, who has the parental responsibility over a child? (as a general rule exercised jointly by the parents as long as they live together, but may lay with the mother if the parents are not married) 2.
3. If the parents are unable or unwilling to exercise parental responsibility over their children, can another person be appointed in their place? (or a guardian may be appointed if the parents are deceased or incapable of taking care of their child) 3.
4. If the parents divorce or split up, how is the question of parental responsibility determined for the future? (by common agreement or by going to court) 4.
5. If the parents conclude an agreement on the question of parental responsibility, which formalities must be respected to make the agreement legally binding? (e. g. approval of an authority or a court) 5.
6. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on the issue of parental responsibility, what are the alternative means for solving the conflict without going to court? 6.
7. If the parents go to court, what issues can the judge decide upon relating to the child? 7.
8. If the court decides that one parent shall have single custody of a child, does this mean that he or she can decide on all matters relating to the child without first consulting the other parent? 8.
9. If the court decides that the parents shall have joint custody of a child, what does this mean in practice? 9.
10. To which court or authority should I turn if I want to lodge an application on parental responsibility? Which formalities must be respected and which documents shall I attach to my application? 10.
11. Which procedure applies in these cases? Is an emergency procedure available? 11.
12. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure? 12.
13. Is it possible to appeal against a decision on parental responsibility? 13.
14. In certain cases, it may be necessary to apply to a court or another authority to have a decision on parental responsibility enforced. Which procedure applies in such cases? 14.
15. What should I do to have a decision on parental responsibility that is issued by a court in another Member State recognised and enforced in [name of Member State concerned]? Which procedure applies in these cases? 15.
16. To which court should I turn in (Member State making the fiche) to oppose the recognition of a decision on parental responsibility issued by a court in another Member State? Which procedure applies in these cases? 16.
17. Which is the applicable law in a proceeding on parental responsibility where the child or the parties do not live in (name of Member State making the fiche) or are of different nationalities? 17.

 

1. What does the legal term “parental responsibility” mean in practical terms? What are the rights and obligations of a holder of parental responsibility?

Under the Slovak Family Code and jurisprudence the parent responsibility (i. e. « parental rights and obligations » – « custody ») comprise, in particular, personal care of the child, maintenance, representation and administration of the child’s property.

2. As a general rule, who has the parental responsibility over a child? (as a general rule exercised jointly by the parents as long as they live together, but may lay with the mother if the parents are not married)

Parental responsibility (custody) belongs to both parents jointly, irrespective of whether the child is born in or out of wedlock or whether they live together or not (married, separated or divorced).

Parent may be stripped of his/her parental responsibility (or limited in it) by the court under serious circumstances prescribed by law.

3. If the parents are unable or unwilling to exercise parental responsibility over their children, can another person be appointed in their place? (or a guardian may be appointed if the parents are deceased or incapable of taking care of their child)

Yes. If they are both legally incapable, have been stripped of their parental responsibility or are dead, a guardian must be appointed who shall personally care for the child, represent it and administer his affairs instead of parents...

4. If the parents divorce or split up, how is the question of parental responsibility determined for the future? (by common agreement or by going to court)

The court must decide about the distribution and exercise of parent rights and obligations (even though both parents continue to exercise the parental responsibility jointly) or can approve an agreement between parents...

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Section 26(1) of the Family Code:

“In its decision divorcing the marriage of the parents of a minor child, the court shall specify the rights and obligations of the parents towards their child in the period after the divorce, in particular by determining which parent will be entrusted with the upbringing of the child and how each parent is to contribute towards the maintenance of the child. ”

Section 50(1) of the Family Code:

“if the parents of a minor child do not live together, the court shall determine their rights and obligations even in the absence of a motion to this effect; it shall decide in particular who should have the custody of the child and how each parent should contribute towards its maintenance. ”

5. If the parents conclude an agreement on the question of parental responsibility, which formalities must be respected to make the agreement legally binding? (e. g. approval of an authority or a court)

An agreement must be approved by the court.

Section 26(2) of the Family Code:

“The decision divorcing the marriage of the parents of a minor child specifying the rights and obligations of the parents towards their child may be replaced by an agreement between the parents which requires the approval of the court for its validity. ”

6. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on the issue of parental responsibility, what are the alternative means for solving the conflict without going to court?

None at the moment. The Law on Mediation is in preparation.

7. If the parents go to court, what issues can the judge decide upon relating to the child?

The court can, in principle, decide anything except award (single) custody to a parent. Only if one parent were stripped of his/her parental responsibility, one parent can have single custody. In practice, however, it decides (on its own motion) which of the parents shall have personal care of the child and who shall pay maintenance. Upon motion it decides on visitation and on other serious issues where the parents cannot agree (e. g. change of name).

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8. If the court decides that one parent shall have single custody of a child, does this mean that he or she can decide on all matters relating to the child without first consulting the other parent?

The concept of “custody” does not translate itself well into the Slovak family law system. We have a concept of “parental rights and responsibilities” which always belong jointly to the parents (so there can never be “single custody”, unless the other parent is dead, legally incapable or stripped of his parental responsibilities). From this we distinguish “personal care” of the child. If a parent has a personal care of the child he/she can do all the decisions connected with the everyday life of the child, but all important questions (moving, school, etc) must be agreed upon by both parents (if not, they must ask court for a decision). Both parents retain the right of representation of the child and administration of his property.

9. If the court decides that the parents shall have joint custody of a child, what does this mean in practice?

See all the previous answers, in particular 8.

10. To which court or authority should I turn if I want to lodge an application on parental responsibility? Which formalities must be respected and which documents shall I attach to my application?

The District Court, in whose district the child has his habitual residence. No formalities must be respected and no documents must be attached, since this is a procedure which the court may start by its own motion. The attachment of documents would depend very much on the content of the application; usually the birth certificate of the child is needed.

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11. Which procedure applies in these cases? Is an emergency procedure available?

A simplified and less formal (non-contentious) proceedings are applied. There is a possibility of provisional order which have a form of emergency proceedings.

12. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure?

All proceedings on parental responsibility are free of court fees. The system of legal aid in Slovakia at the moment is limited only to the exemption from payment of court fees and the provisions of free of charge representative. In family proceedings seldom anyone chooses a lawyer, because of the non-contentious character of the proceedings. But if the person fulfils the legal conditions for personal exemption from court fees the court may, upon its discretion if it considers that representation is necessary for the protection of the party’s interests, provide for a free of charge representative, including a lawyer.

13. Is it possible to appeal against a decision on parental responsibility?

Yes.

14. In certain cases, it may be necessary to apply to a court or another authority to have a decision on parental responsibility enforced. Which procedure applies in such cases?

The regular enforcement procedures apply (court enforcement) with the exception of enforcement of decision on personal care (i. e. if the child has to be returned to the parent who under the decision has the right of personal care). In such cases the procedure is stricter (less levels of financial penalties and the possibility of involvement of police and/or other authorities to assist).

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15. What should I do to have a decision on parental responsibility that is issued by a court in another Member State recognised and enforced in [name of Member State concerned]? Which procedure applies in these cases?

At present, there is no special procedure for recognition (unless sole (“prior”) recognition – not followed by enforcement – under the Luxemburg convention is sought). The applicant files the application with the district court having jurisdiction to order enforcement. The court will check the conditions for recognition in the context of enforcement. This will, however, change when and if the amendment to the Law on PIL shall have been adopted (need for special exequatur proceedings) and also after Brussels II shall become applicable in Slovakia. The procedure shall be more complex (declaration of enforceability).

16. To which court should I turn in (Member State making the fiche) to oppose the recognition of a decision on parental responsibility issued by a court in another Member State? Which procedure applies in these cases?

The appeal shall always be loged by the same court which made the orioginal decision, but the decision on it is taken by the regional court.

17. Which is the applicable law in a proceeding on parental responsibility where the child or the parties do not live in (name of Member State making the fiche) or are of different nationalities?

The situation is very complex due to the unforeseen consequences of the 1996 Hague Convention. Law applicable under that Convention is applicable, unless there is a bilateral treaty in which case the law under that treaty applies.

Further information

Ministerstvo spravodlivosti

« Parental responsibility - General information | Slovakia - General information »

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Last update: 30-05-2007

 
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