Siblings have the right to grow up together
09 December 2022
As of June 19, 2021, the (old) Civil Code has a new chapter 'brothers and sisters'. The chapter was placed under Book I 'Persons', Title IX 'Parental authority and foster care' and contains 3 new legal provisions. The new chapter applies to measures taken within the context of parental authority, foster care and the placement of a minor non-emancipated child in the context of youth assistance and youth protection. The new legislative provisions give minor siblings two explicit rights:
- the right not to be separated from each other and thus to grow up together in the same family. This may seem obvious, but in practice it often turns out differently after a separation of the parents or placement in youth care;
- the right to have personal contact with each other at any age. This right already existed for grandparents and any other person who demonstrates a special affective bond with a child.
- 374 §2 paragraph 4 (old) Civil Code was amended in the sense that the Family Court, when working out a living arrangement for the children after separation of the parents, must now strive for the same living arrangement for all siblings. If this is not possible, the Family Court must clarify how personal contact between the siblings is to take place;
- 393, paragraph 2 (old) Civil Code has been amended in the sense that when placing children under guardianship, the Justice of Peace should preferably appoint the same guardian for all siblings, unless this is not in the best interest of the child. If this is not possible, the Justice of Peace must clarify how personal contact between the siblings is to take place.