The grounds for deprivation of parental rights of a mother or father are defined by the Family Code of Ukraine. The key reason is that the parents or one of the parents do not fulfill their responsibilities towards the children.

Deprivation of parental rights occurs only by a court decision, and when the court considers disputes on this issue, the guardianship authorities also must participate.

Parents may be deprived of parental rights by the court if the mother/father:

  • did not take the child from the maternity hospital or other health care institution without a good reason and did not show parental care for him for six months;
  • evade their responsibilities regarding raising a child and/or ensuring that he/she obtains a full general secondary education;
  • treat the child cruelly;
  • are chronic alcoholics or drug addicts;
  • resort to any kind of exploitation of the child, force him to beg and wander;
  • convicted of committing an international criminal offense against a child.

Most of the mentioned points are quite clear and understandable, but one of them gives the opportunity to interpret it in a rather wide range – evasion of one’s responsibilities for raising a child is understood by many in their own way.

For example, some believe that the parent who lives separately and does not pay alimony can be deprived of parental rights. However, the courts do not perceive the fact of non-payment of alimony as a reason for deprivation of parental rights.

Parents’ evasion from fulfilling their duties occurs when they do not take care of the physical and spiritual development of the child, his education, preparation for independent life, in particular: they do not provide the necessary nutrition, medical care, treatment of the child, which negatively affects his physical development as a component of education; do not communicate with the child in the amount necessary for his normal self-awareness; do not give the child access to cultural and other spiritual values; do not facilitate child’s assimilation of generally recognized moral rules; show no interest in child’s inner world; do not create conditions for obtaining an education.

It is important to understand that the deprivation of parental rights, which are granted to parents before the child reaches the age of majority, is an extreme measure of influence. Therefore, the question of its application should be decided by the court only after a complete and objective clarification of this case, in particular, the attitude of parents to children.

The process is organized as follows: the guardianship authorities prepare and submit to the court a written opinion on the resolution of the dispute based on the information obtained as a result of the examination of the living conditions of the child, parents, other persons who wish to live with the child or participate in its upbringing, as well as on the basis of other documents related to the case. However, the court may disagree with the conclusion of the guardianship authority if it is insufficiently substantiated and/or contradicts the child’s interests.

One of the parents, a tutor, a guardian, a person in whose family the child lives, a health care institution, an educational or other children’s institution in which the child is staying, a prosecutor, as well as the child himself who has reached the age of fourteen are also entitled to appeal to the court with a claim for deprivation of parental rights.

Litigation of family disputes in which the interests of the child are affected is particularly difficult because in its process not only issues of concern are disputed between the parents, but the fate of the child is determined, and therefore the outcome of the trial should be aimed at protecting the best interests of the child.

In the decision of the Supreme Court dated May 30, 2018 in case No. 553/2563/15-ц, it was adopted the conclusion regarding the application of paragraph 2, part 1 of article 164 of the Civil Code of Ukraine and it is indicated that «evading the fulfillment of one’s duties to raise a child can cause the grounds for deprivation of parental rights only under the condition of culpable behavior of the parents, deliberate neglect of their duties».

The courts believe that even the fact of the applicant’s objection to the claim for deprivation of his parental rights may also indicate his interest in the child and may become grounds for refusing to satisfy the claim for deprivation of parental rights.

If the claim for deprivation of parental rights is satisfied by the court, then the person that is deprived of parental rights:

  • loses personal non-property rights in relation to the child and is released from duties regarding his upbringing;
  • ceases to be the legal representative of the child;
  • loses rights to benefits and state aid provided to the families with children;
  • cannot be an adoptive parent, guardian or custodian;
  • cannot receive in the future the property rights related to parenthood that could be possible in the event of incapacity (right to child maintenance, right to pension and compensation in case of loss of the breadwinner, right to inheritance);
  • loses other rights based on kinship with the child.

But a person who is deprived of parental rights is not released from the obligation to maintain a child. When the claim regarding the deprivation of parental rights is satisfied, the court simultaneously makes a decision on the collection of alimony for the child.

At the same time, it should be understood that the mother and/or father, deprived of parental rights, have the right to appeal to the court with an application to grant them the right to see the child. The court may allow one-time, periodic visitation with the child, if it does not harm his life, health and moral upbringing, and provided that another person is present.

But deprivation of parental rights is not an irreversible process.

The Family Code of Ukraine provides that a mother or father who has been deprived of parental rights has the right to apply to the court for the restoration of parental rights. The court examines whether the person’s behavior and circumstances have changed, which were the basis for the deprivation of parental rights, and makes a decision in accordance with the interests of the child.

The Smartsolutions team is always ready to provide professional legal assistance both in regard with the deprivation or restoration of parental rights and in other matters of family relations.

The contact person
Mykola Krupka
Mykola Krupka
Attorney-at-law
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