Agreements on Care of Child and Parental Visiting Rights

Whenever parents live apart or are in a process of separation, they may agree on care of their child/children and on visiting rights. The parents may reach the decision amongst themselves, or at a child supervisor’s office. Living arrangements (with the father/mother) agreed on and verified at a child supervisor’s office are filed in the population information system. The child’s interests must always be the basis for any parental agreements on the child’s living arrangements and visiting rights. The child can only have one official address, that is, with one of the parents. Whenever the parents apply for housing allowance and child allowance, the child is acknowledged as a member of one household only. If the parents are unable to reach a mutual agreement on the child’s living arrangements, they can also take the matter to a district court. It is completely voluntary to make the agreements at a child supervisor’s office.

The child has the right to meet and have contact with the parent who does not live with the child. The parents may agree on the visits amongst themselves. Alternatively, an agreement on the visits can be made at a child supervisor’s office, or the matter can be taken to a district court for a decision.

The child supervisor will draw up a visiting agreement i cooperation with the parents in such detail as desired by the parents. Usually, the parents agree on visits on weekdays and weekends, Sundays and holidays, school holidays, and visits on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The visiting agreement can also have a fixed-term duration, and it can be adjusted when necessary as the child becomes older.

Do the following

Please contact the Eastern Uusimaa region Family rights unit, either by phone during our telephone hours, or by email.

To whom and on what terms

If the visiting parent is not capable of taking care of the child during the visits, an agreement can be made to organize supported or supervised contacts.

If the parents are struggling to find a common view on issues concerning the child, Family Reconciliation Service may be of help to sort out the differences of opinion.

If a parent is not allowed to see the child, it is possible to apply for an enforcement of the decision on right of access. An application for the enforcement of a decision may be filed with a decision verified by either a child supervisor or a court, or with a court order. A parent’s fear is not enough to justify denial of the other parent’s right to meet the child. Instead, meetings can be legally inhibited only on very strong grounds of declarable value. The parents are to agree on the rights of access. However, once the child reaches the age of 12, or earlier according to circumstances, they may also state their own opinion on the matter of visiting rights. Enforcement of visiting rights is not carried out against the child’s wishes whenever the child has turned 12, or earlier if a younger child is deemed mature enough to state their own opinion in a reliable way.

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Basic information and legislation

In a common-law or matrimonial divorce, you can agree on your child’s custody, residence and right of access. When making decisions on the future of your child as their parents, you must discuss them with your child if this is possible considering their age and level of development. The child’s opinions and wishes must be taken into account.

The child welfare supervisor can provide information on the options available to you and assist you in drawing up a contract. The agreement on the child’s custody, residence and right of access must be made in writing and confirmed with the child welfare supervisor of the wellbeing services county where the child’s municipality of residence is located. If you are unable to reach a mutual decision, the matter will be decided by a court.

If the child is jointly cared for by their parents, the parents will decide together on matters that are important for the child, such as the child’s place of residence, health care, day care or school. In some situations, the division of tasks between guardians can also be agreed upon. A single parent decides on the child’s affairs alone.

If the child lives with just one parent, they have the right to meet and contact the other parent in the manner agreed upon by both parents. The parents can also decide on an alternating dual-residence arrangement for the child in the manner specified in the contract.