Parental authority is vested in the parents once filiation is established. In the case of full adoption, the adopters are holders of parental authority (unlike the biological parents who will not have it). In the case of simple adoption, the adopter has parental authority.

Parental authority is exercised over the child in his interest, considering that the child is a vulnerable person who needs parental authority to protect him and act in his interest.

Parental authority lasts until the majority of the child or his emancipation. Nevertheless, certain prerogatives and obligations are not subject to the question of majority or the emancipation of the child. This is the case for nationality (from the age of 16), legal enjoyment (from the age of 16), or even school fees which must be provided by the parents until the child reaches the age of majority.

Parents have the right to consent to the marriage, adoption or emancipation of the child. The child’s domicile is with his parents. The child cannot leave the family home without permission. The accommodation of the child is part of the maintenance obligation of the parents.

One of the corollaries of parental authority lies in the civil liability of parents for the act of their child. Parents are responsible for all damage caused by their children, whether it is a voluntary fault or not (the child’s personal liability may be sought when the fault committed is not normal for a child of the same age). It is therefore necessary for parents to ensure that they are well-insured for the damage caused by their child. In the event of separation, only the parent with whom the child usually resides will be able to see his responsibility as of right. The other parent can only be held responsible in the event of a lack of supervision. In concrete terms, this means that in the event of no fault of supervision by the non-custodial parent, the victim may turn to the parent with custody even if the child was not with this parent at the time of the facts.

The child leaving the national territory without being accompanied by a holder of parental authority must be granted an authorization to leave the territory.

The right and duty of supervision depends on the child’s age, maturity and morals. The right of supervision allows parents to limit or prohibit the child’s relations with third parties. The parents’ prohibition can be overridden when it is in the interest of the child (this is particularly the case for grandparents).

Parents must ensure the school education of the child. Parents choose the educational mode within the framework set by the legislator. The parents bear the cost of raising the child.

In accordance with the provisions of article 371-1 of the Civil Code, parental authority implies that the parents jointly take medical decisions concerning their child (it is different for so-called usual acts, i.e. common or usual). The doctor may override the parents’ decision if their refusal could have serious consequences for the health of the minor. The possibility of choosing the care of parental authority does not make it possible to avoid compulsory vaccinations.

The child is involved in decisions concerning him according to his age and maturity.

In case of difficulty, parental authority could be withdrawn. It is a sanction pronounced by the judge because of serious faults committed by one of the parents towards the child. This could be the case in the case of crimes or misdemeanors committed against the person of the child or the other parent. The withdrawal of parental authority can also be pronounced by the civil judge in the event of endangerment of the child or of disinterest of the parents towards their child or even when the child witnesses pressure, violence of a physical nature or psychological exerted by one of the parents on the other parent. The withdrawal is temporary and the deposed parent may request, after one year from the withdrawal, by means of a request, the restitution of parental authority in the event of new circumstances and if the child has not been placed with a view to his or her adoption.

A child could be considered abandoned when his parents have not maintained with him the relationship necessary for his education or development during the year preceding the introduction of the application. Representation by a lawyer is compulsory.