Lawyer at the Lyon Bar - Toque 1626
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Unmarried parents and parental authority in the event of divorce

unmarried parents

What is parental authority and how to exercise it?

The father and mother share parental authority.

However, when filiation is established towards one of the parents, more than one year after the birth of the child whose filiation is already established towards the other parent, the latter alone exercises parental authority.

Parental authority may, however, be exercised jointly in the event of a joint declaration by the father and mother before the Chief Registrar of the High Court or by a decision of the Family Judge. (Article 372 of the Civil Code)

Caution: The separation of parents has in principle no effect on the exercise of parental authority.

It is only in very special cases that the Family Judge may decide that parental authority will be exercised by one of the parents only.

    Residence of the child and right of access and accommodation

    The Family Judge can either:

    • Fix the child's residence alternately with the mother and the father,
    • Or fix the residence of the child at the home of one of the parents and fix a right of access and accommodation for the other parent whose residence is not fixed
    • Or decide that the right of access and accommodation for the parent whose residence is not fixed will be exercised in a neutral place (specialized association), often pending the outcome of a social inquiry.


    Each parent contributes to the maintenance and upbringing of the children in proportion to his/her resources, those of the other parent, and the needs of the child. This obligation does not cease automatically when the child is of age (= over 18). (Article 371-2 of the Civil Code)

    A purely indicative table edited by the Ministry of Justice will allow you to obtain a rough estimate of your alimony.