Explanation on issue of restriction of parental rights by Ombudsman

Extracts for legal literacy News

The Human Rights Ombudsman in the DPR explains the norms of family law governing the peculiarities of restricting parental rights in respect of a child.

The restriction of parental rights is mistaken for deprivation of parental rights, but in practice these measures have certain differences. First of all, deprivation of parental rights is the most severe, extreme measure that is applied in cases where the previous methods (including restrictions) did not bring the desired result in terms of ensuring the normal life of a child.

The main difference between them is the time frame during which the limiting impact occurs. People may be deprived of parental rights for an indefinite period, on the grounds provided by Article 69 of the Family Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic (hereinafter – the DPR Family Code), until the moment when the child reaches the age of majority. Parental rights are limited only for a certain period (up to six months), during which there is the monitoring of the parents’ behaviour. This measure is taken as a preventive measure.

Restriction of parental rights is allowed if leaving a child with his/her parents (one of them) is dangerous for him/her due to circumstances beyond the control of the parents or one of them (mental disorder or other chronic disease, a combination of difficult circumstances, etc.). The restriction is possible even then, when it is dangerous to leave a child with his/her parents because of their behaviour, but there are no objective grounds for starting a procedure to deprive citizens of their parental rights in respect of a child. On these grounds, the court may, taking into account the interests of a child, decide to remove a child from the parents (one of them) without depriving them of their parental rights.

The limitation period will be up to 6 months, which are given to parents (one of them) to change their behaviour. After 6 months, the guardian and custody bodies check the behaviour of parents whose parental rights have been restricted. If their behaviour six months after the restriction in rights can still harm the child, then the authorized state bodies will petition to deprive citizens of parental rights through the courts.

Also, it should be noted that a claim for restricting parental rights can be brought by close relatives of the child, bodies and organizations that are legally entrusted with the responsibility to protect the rights of minors, preschool educational organizations, general educational organizations and other organizations, as well as the prosecutor.

If parental rights are restricted, the father or mother may be allowed to see the child, but only on the condition that this will not harm the child and pose a danger to him/her (Article 75 of the DPR Family Code).

Thus, if it is established that as a result of the actions (inaction) of the father or mother, a real threat to the health or life of the child is created, then this measure will be applied.

It should be taken into account that the establishment of the presence or absence of this threat occurs only in court, after considering all the circumstances of the case.

The evidence that is the basis for the application of restriction of parental rights is:

– certificates of summoning representatives of the police or copies of the reports drawn up on the fact of violation of the protocols;

– conclusions of authorized officials on the physical or psychological health of the child;

– certificates on the amount of alimony arrears;

– characteristics from the district police inspector.

The legal consequences of the application of restriction of parental rights include the deprivation of the following rights to the child:

– on his/her personal upbringing;

– to represent and protect his/her interests;

– to live together with him/her;

– to remove a child from other persons;

– to benefits and state allowances established for citizens with children.

If the circumstances due to which the parents (one of them), whose parental rights have been restricted, disappeared, the court, on the claim of the parents (one of them), may decide to return the child to the parents (one of them) and to cancel the restrictions provided for in Article 74 of the DPR Family Code. The court, taking into account the opinion of the child, has the right to refuse to satisfy the claim if the return of the child to the parents (one of them) is contrary to his/her interests.