What are the options for modifying parent-child contact?

Before the parents' separation, each child can live, be brought up, and be in contact with both parents.

This right of the child should be preserved if the parents are separated. Ideally, parents should be equally involved in the child's upbringing after separation, or reasonable arrangements for contact with the non-resident parent (parent not living in the same household as the child) should be made.

The extent of contact should respect the needs of the child, which include quality time with both parents. However, this is only sometimes the case for parents. In international families, it can be a compromise even more difficult. In cases where one parent prevents the other from seeing the child, legal action can be taken to secure this contact.

Again, it is the parent's choice whether to try to find a solution out of court or apply to the court for a so-called contact arrangement similar to the custody arrangements.

The custodial parent has to prepare the child for contact with the non-resident parent and to properly cooperate with the non-resident parent (planning the contact, informing about the child and their needs).

Most parents do not need to set up a "childcare schedule" and are flexible about when each parent will care for the child. However, for greater peace of mind and certainty, parents should schedule the exercise of care. They can then make this schedule known to their child, who will at least know when mum and dad will be looking after them.

If the parents conclude an agreement to regulate contact between the parents and the child, it is usually sufficient for it to be concluded out of court. However, if relations between the parents are strained, it is possible to apply to the court for a contact arrangement. The court will then decide to what extent contact between the non-resident parent and the child will be implemented. The judgment will be legally binding on the parents and will also be enforceable.

Right to information about the child

The right to contact with the child also includes the right to information about the child (their health and mental state, school performance, interests, etc.), which should be provided regularly by the parent caring for the child to the other parent. If this does not happen, the parents need to find a common way to share this information, e.g., by using co-parenting apps.

How should the contact be set up?

Whatever the parents agree, the extent of contact should allow the non-resident parent to take part in the child's upbringing. As a matter of principle, the non-resident parent should not become a "good uncle/aunt" who takes the child on a trip and then "return". On the contrary, the non-resident parent also has to properly care for and raise the child, and care for the child's healthy development.

Parental responsibility and its rights and obligations belong equally to both parents. Every parent has it unless they have been deprived by a court. Parental responsibility also includes the right to care for the child.

The childcare arrangements may change during the child's lifetime. It should be based on the child's current developmental needs, considering the child's opinion and the parents' possibilities. Therefore, it is impossible to say in general terms, which regime is the most appropriate. In practice, we encounter, for example, the following arrangements for custody and access:

Contact between the child and the parent abroad

the child can call the parent living abroad, and the parents have 3 dates per week arranged for this occasion (respecting time zones)

the child goes to visit the parent abroad for spring break

during the summer holidays, the child is in the care of the parent abroad for about 6 weeks

the parent living abroad visits the child during the year and has the opportunity to care for the child during their stay (approx. 4 weeks of the year announced in advance)

the child celebrates Christmas every second year abroad, where they travel from 20 December to 2 January of the following year

The child has contact with a parent living nearby abroad

one month the child goes abroad to visit the parent for a weekend; the next month, the parent comes back from abroad to see the child

during the spring break, the child is looked after by a parent living abroad

during the summer holidays, the child is in the care of the parent abroad for about 3 weeks, after which the child can go camping and spend time with the other parent

the child celebrates Christmas with both parents, with one parent from 20 December to 26 December, with the other from 26 December to 2 January, the parents can alternate the dates

Care during the year

the child is in the care of one parent

the other parent looks after the child every 14 days from Friday to Sunday and two afternoons a week

the child communicates regularly with the other parent via telephone/video conference

Shared custody

the parents take turns in caring for the child regularly

possible intervals: weekly, fortnightly, or shorter

The child communicates regularly with the other parent via telephone/video conference

Holiday care arrangements

the child is with the father for 14 days during the holidays

the child is with mum for 14 days during the holidays

the child has the opportunity to go to a camp

the rest of the holidays, the parents care for the child as during the year