Parental authority constitutes parents’ rights and duties of custody, supervision, education, as well as the obligation to maintain their child. Whilst both mother and father are required by law to conjointly exercise the above until the child’s majority or emancipation, certain circumstances can warrant for the deprivation of parental authority in its entirety or for the revocation of one or more of the parent’s rights.

According to Quebec law, there is a two-tiered test required in order to deprive one of parental authority or of any its attributes. It must first be demonstrated that such action is justified by a serious reason, and, if such is the case, that deprivation is in the interest of the child. Various behaviours have been identified as constituting a serious reason, such as a parent’s inexcusable and voluntary abandonment of the child for an extended period of time, assault or other forms of violence against the child, a parent’s inability to assume his or her parental responsibilities, as well as a parent’s criminal history or substance abuse problem. To determine whether or not deprivation is in the interest of the child, the court will consider several factors such as the moral, intellectual, emotional and physical needs of the child, as well as his or her age, health, personality, family environment, and other aspects of the given situation. The court will judge deprivation to be in the interest of the child if, ultimately, the minor will benefit from it.

It is important to know that deprivation of parental authority, given that it is an extreme measure, can only be done by way of a court decision and only under exceptional circumstances.

If you are facing the possibility of losing parental authority over your child or are, conversely, seeking to obtain a court judgement depriving another person of their parental authority, contact Schwalb Legal and one of our lawyers can assist you with this complicated and delicate matter.