Did you know that being deprived of parental authority does not release you from the obligation to pay child support?

In a previous column, we have discussed the issue of parental authority and particularly the fact that it is the responsibility of both parents to jointly exercise parental authority over their children and to decide on important issues such as religion, education, health, medical care, welfare of children, etc.

However, in special circumstances, a parent may be deprived of parental authority over his child. But why can a parent be deprived of parental authority and what are the consequences?

Article 606 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that “The court may, for a grave reason and in the interest of the child, on the application of any interested person, declare the father, the mother or either of them, or a third person on whom parental authority may have been conferred, to be deprived of such authority.”

Therefore, we must keep in mind that the deprivation of parental authority is an exceptional measure and that according to the doctrine and the jurisprudence, “if there’s a grave reason to believe and if the interests of the child requires, there will be the deprivation of parental authority. For instance, an assault on the child, abuse, insults, abandonment and neglect of parental duties can be considered as grave reasons. The motive of abandonment is often cited as the main reason and it is increasingly accepted. However, the motive for abandonment will not be considered separately because it is always necessary to take into account the child’s interest.” [1]

The effect of such measure may lead to the loss of parental rights and as well as the inability to inherit from children. According to article 609 of the Civil Code of Québec the “deprivation entails the exemption of the child from the obligation to provide support, unless the court decides otherwise”. Be aware that a parent deprived of parental authority is not exempt to pay child support for f their child, who can still inherit from their parents if they die without a will.

It should also be noted that the deprivation of parental authority does not lead to the removal of the parent’s name on the child’s birth certificate.

Moreover, as the Civil Code of Québec indicates, “Where such a measure [deprivation of parental authority] is not required by the situation but action is nevertheless necessary, the court may declare, instead, the withdrawal of an attribute of parental authority or of its exercise” for example a custody.”

Correspondingly, this measure is not final and that under Article 610 of the Civil Code of Québec, “a father or mother who has been deprived of parental authority or from whom an attribute of parental authority has been withdrawn may have the withdrawn authority restored, provided he or she alleges new circumstances, subject to the provisions governing adoption.”

Text written by Me Virginie Damien / Translated by Andrey Leshyner