Enforcement of the child’s interests in the course of the dissolution of marriage

Brigita Kairienė, Lijana Jekaitytė

Abstract


Rapid changes in the social, economical and cultural milieu in Europe bring about family transformation in Lithuania, including the dissolution of marriage. Parents, when exercising their freedom and right to dissolve a marriage, infringe the right of a child to be brought up by both parents; this is contrary to the interest of a child to grow up in an environment that meets his/her conditions for growing up and development. The court, when dissolving marriage, must resolve issues related to the residence and support of underage children of spouses taking into account the interests of a child. The present study attempts to determine how the interests of a child are enforced in the course of the proceedings on the dissolution of marriage.
The analysis of material on cases of dissolution of marriage suggests that the Children’s Rights Protection Service, in presenting conclusions to the court regarding the determination of the residence of a child, takes into account the living conditions of the child, the safety of the child with the parents, connection of the child with the parents, and the opinion of the child. Decision on the residence of a child is predominantly based on the opinion of the child when it is grounded on insecurity (with physical violence suffered) and the absence of connection with either of the parents.
Children’s Rights Protection Service, in presenting conclusions to the court regarding the determination of the support of a child, evaluates the approach of the father to the obligation to provide support his child, including efforts to provide support, financial capacity and the needs of the child. The court, in resolving the issue on the support of children, without requiring the support of the child from either of the parents, ignores the obligation of the father to provide support for children until they reach adulthood and disregards the principle of equal rights and duties of both parents with regard to their children. Such a judgement, at based exclusively on the needs of a child in the course of proceedings, does not meet the interests of the child, which should be related to the future prospecs of the child.

Keywords


interests of a child; needs of a child; rights of a child; rights and duties of parents; determination of the residence of a child; determination of the support of a child

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789