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Syskon i familjetvist - En studie om begreppet kontinuitet i vårdnads- och boendemål ur ett syskonperspektiv

Eriksson, Andréa LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Enligt svensk familjerätt är syskons rätt till varandra varken en fastslagen lag eller utvecklad i förarbeten och doktrin. Trots detta föreligger det ett starkt skydd av syskon enligt praxis, vilken har sin grund i begreppet kontinuitet. Begreppet kontinuitet är ett resultat av främst praxis, men har sin grund i förarbeten. Denna har till syfte att behålla all slags pågående kontinuitet för barnet som kan uppkomma i familjemål. Till begreppet hör två principer; kontinuitetsprincipen som rör kontinuitet till miljö och föräldrar, samt principen om kontinuitet mellan syskon, som endast rör kontinuitet mellan syskon. Sistnämnda kan även benämnas som ”oviljan att dela på syskon”. Dessa principer kan endast tillämpas när en kontinuitet... (More)
Enligt svensk familjerätt är syskons rätt till varandra varken en fastslagen lag eller utvecklad i förarbeten och doktrin. Trots detta föreligger det ett starkt skydd av syskon enligt praxis, vilken har sin grund i begreppet kontinuitet. Begreppet kontinuitet är ett resultat av främst praxis, men har sin grund i förarbeten. Denna har till syfte att behålla all slags pågående kontinuitet för barnet som kan uppkomma i familjemål. Till begreppet hör två principer; kontinuitetsprincipen som rör kontinuitet till miljö och föräldrar, samt principen om kontinuitet mellan syskon, som endast rör kontinuitet mellan syskon. Sistnämnda kan även benämnas som ”oviljan att dela på syskon”. Dessa principer kan endast tillämpas när en kontinuitet föreligger, det vill säga när syskonen bor tillsammans eller har ett kontinuerligt umgänge. Min rättsfallsstudie visar dock att praxis utvidgar bestämmelserna om barnets bästa till att även omfatta en ”vilja att förena syskon”. Denna tillämpas i de fall syskon inte bott eller umgåtts tillsammans. (Se bilaga A). Detta examensarbete behandlar främst kontinuiteten mellan syskon i vårdnads- och boendeprövningar, och hur dessa förhåller sig till begreppet kontinuitet, och till de andra generellt ställda kraven i barnets bästa i 6 kap 2a § FB.

Kontinuitetsprincipen innebär att ett barns invanda miljö och fungerande ordning inte abrupt ska avbrytas utan svåra skäl. Sådana skäl kan vara om barnet löper risk att fara illa hos en av föräldrarna, eller om barnet har uppnått en sådan betydande ålder att dess vilja kan beaktas. Omständigheter som ska beaktas är barnets förhållande till miljö och hem, såsom skola, kamrater, fritidsaktiviteter, kontakt med övrig släkt och så vidare. Rent konkret innebär detta i många fall att barnet ska bo kvar hos den förälder barnet är bosatt hos.

Principen om kontinuitet mellan syskon, även benämnd som ”oviljan att dela på syskon”, innebär att en delning av syskon som bor tillsammans bör undvikas. Utöver behovet av kontakt med föräldrar och miljön, har ett barn ett behov av att upprätthålla en god relation till syskonen. Denna princip är likaså ett resultat av främst praxis, och har där ett särskilt starkt fäste. ”Viljan att förena syskon” påminner till stor del om ”oviljan att dela på syskon”, då de delar flera värderingar och strävar efter samma mål; att syskon ska ha en god och nära kontakt. ”Viljan att förena syskon” grundas främst i att syskon har ett behov av att växa upp tillsammans, och att syskon alltid ska vara en betydelsefull omständighet som domstolen ska beakta i barnets bästa.

Enligt framställd rättsfallsstudie beslutas i åtta av tio fall att syskonen ska bo
tillsammans, både genom att hålla ihop och förena dem. Enligt de redogjorda intervjuerna anser tre av fyra domare att syskon ska hållas ihop, och att det närmast är en rättighet för barn att syskon hålls ihop. I de fyra fallen hovrätten beslutar att syskonen ska hållas ihop, har hovrätten i samtliga fall fastställt tingsrättens dom. I de fyra rättsfallen hovrätten beslutar om en förening av syskon, har hovrätten i samtliga fall ändrat tingsrättens dom. Således kan konstateras att det föreligger ett starkt intresse i domstolarna att skydda och ta till vara på syskons relationer. I däremot doktrin är ”oviljan att dela på syskon” en mindre utvecklad princip, medan ”viljan att förena syskon” inte är en påtalad princip. Således får dessa två viljor en svagare genomslagskraft i teorin.

Av rättsfallsstudien framgår det att i två av tio fall ändras syskonens boende så att boendet delas. Detta motiveras av särskilt svåra omständigheter, om den ena föräldern är något mer lämplig eller om barnet har en sådan stark vilja att den ska beaktas. Enligt intervjuförfarandet ansåg en av domarna att det inte är en särskilt beaktansvärd omständighet att det föreligger en syskonrelation. Istället finns det flera andra omständigheter som domstoler ger överordnad betydelse, till exempel barnets vilja.

Rättsfallsstudien visar även att alla typer av syskon, oavsett om det är hel-, halv- eller styvsyskon, är lika viktiga för barn. Således ska alla syskonrelationer utredas i förhållande till varje individuellt fall och kvaliteten i relationen ska avgöra. Det framgår även att ofödda syskon ska beaktas och kan väga tungt i domen för vårdnad och boende. Till skillnad från praxis, har dock halv- och styvsyskon en mycket svagare skydd i doktrin. Enligt förarbetena ingår halvsyskon i ett barns rätt till kontakt med andra närstående, vilket innebär att endast umgänge kan regleras. Styvsyskon har inte ett uttalat skydd i doktrin. Helsyskon däremot nämns inte i förarbeten eller doktrin, men det kan enligt rättsfallsstudien och intervjuförfarandet konstateras att helsyskon underförstått kan inräknas till kontakten med båda föräldrarna. Detta innebär att ett gemensamt boende kan regleras för helsyskon. Således har inte alla syskon ett jämnlikt skydd i teori och praktik, och ur ett lagorienterat perspektiv är syskonskyddet helt frånvarande.

Ur ett historiskt perspektiv har rättsutvecklingen gått mot ett starkare skydd för barn i familjemål. Barns behov och säkerhet är grunden, baserat på till stor del erkänd barnpsykologi. Rättsläget är även något annorlunda idag än för ett par decennier tillbaka. Familjekonstellationer ser annorlunda ut, vilket gör det vanligare att barn har halv- och styvsyskon. Detta leder till att domstolarna måste förhålla sig till verklig fakta, vilket praxis visar.

Sammantaget kan sägas att kontinuitetsprincipen och principen om kontinuitet mellan syskon står gemensamt under begreppet kontinuitet, men de fastställer skydd för olika intressen. ”Viljan att förena syskon” är ett självständigt begrepp inom barnets bästa, som påminner mycket om ”oviljan att dela på syskon”. I praxis har syskon ett starkare skydd, och det förekommer att syskonkontinuiteten avgör helt eller delvis sakfrågan. För de fall en sådan kontinuitet föreligger, står den ofta högt placerad i en hierarkisk rangordning i förhållande till de övriga ställda kraven i barnets bästa. (Less)
Abstract
According to Swedish family law, the right for siblings to each other is not a stated rule, nor well developed in preliminary works or doctrine. However, there is a higher level of protection of siblings according to case law, which is anchored in the concept of continuity. The concept of continuity is mainly a result from case law, but has its ground in preliminary work. It aims to maintain all current continuity for the child that may arise in family disputes. The concept of continuity consists of two principles; firstly the principle of continuity which relates to environment and parents, and secondly the principle of continuity between siblings, which solely relates to the continuity of the sibling relationship. The last addressed... (More)
According to Swedish family law, the right for siblings to each other is not a stated rule, nor well developed in preliminary works or doctrine. However, there is a higher level of protection of siblings according to case law, which is anchored in the concept of continuity. The concept of continuity is mainly a result from case law, but has its ground in preliminary work. It aims to maintain all current continuity for the child that may arise in family disputes. The concept of continuity consists of two principles; firstly the principle of continuity which relates to environment and parents, and secondly the principle of continuity between siblings, which solely relates to the continuity of the sibling relationship. The last addressed principle can also be named as “the reluctance to separate siblings”. These two principles can only be applied when there is an ongoing continuity in the sibling relationship, which means that the siblings must have been resided or had continuous access to each other. The starting point is that children have a strong need of continuity, stability and security, which the principles protect. However, the case study shows that case law is extending the best interest of the child-principle by referring to “the desire to unite siblings”. It applies when siblings have not been resided nor had extensive access to each other, in order to achieve a joint accommodation. (See appendix A). Therefore, this thesis addresses the concept of continuity in regards of siblings in custody and residency disputes, and to the generally set conditions in the best interest of the child-principle, according to the Swedish parental code 6 chapter 2a §.

The principle of continuity implies that a child’s familiar environment and functioning arrangements shall not be abruptly discontinued without severe reasons. Such severe reasons may be that the child is liable to suffer as living with one of the parents, or if the child has reached such a mature age that the view and wishes must be taken into account. The child may have a certain desire regarding the living, housing, school, friends, recreational activities, keeping contact with other relatives etc. Basically it often results that the child remains with the already residing parent.

The principle of continuity between siblings, also referred to as “the reluctance to separate siblings”, implies that a separation of residing siblings should be avoided. In addition to the need of a good and close relation with both parents and environment, a child has a need to keep the relationship with the siblings. Nonetheless, this principle is a result of mere case law, and is therefore well anchored in practice. “The desire to unite siblings” resembles with “the reluctance to separate siblings” as they share the same values, and pursuing the same objectives; a good and close relation between siblings. “The desire to unite siblings” is primarily based on the need for siblings to grow up together, and that siblings shall always be a significant circumstance that must be considered by the court when assessing the best interest of the child.

According to the case study, a joint living in regards of the siblings is granted in eight out of ten cases, both by keeping the siblings together and by uniting them. According to the recited interviews with judges in the Court of Appeals, three out of four judges consider that siblings shall stay together, which they mean children are entitled to. In the four cases where the Court of Appeals granted on a joint living, the judgment was amended in every case. Therefore, it may be noted that there is a strong urge to protect the cohesion of siblings in courts. However, in doctrine “the reluctance to separate siblings” is a less developed principle, and “the desire to unite siblings” in not even mentioned. Thereby, these two principles have a weakened effectiveness in theory.

The case study is also showing in two of ten cases the Court of Appeal amends the district court’s judgment, and decides on a separate living. It is justified by especially severe circumstances, such as one of the parents is in a better capacity of upbringing the child, or if the child has a certain wish or view in regards of the living. According to the recited interviews, one of four judges does not consider a sibling relationship noteworthy. Rather, there are a variety of other circumstances that may be of primary importance, for example the view and wish of the child itself.

Furthermore, the case study indicates that all types of siblings shall be recognized as siblings, regardless if the siblings are biological, half or step siblings. The quality of the sibling relationship must be taken into account in the specific case, and determine the subject matter. It is also apparent that unborn siblings shall be considered and carries significant importance in regards of custody and residency disputes. However, in doctrine half and step siblings have a considerably weaker protection, in contrast to case law. According to the preliminary works, a child is only entitled to have contact with the half sibling. A joint living is not possible as half siblings are considered as belonging to the provisions of contact only. Step siblings do not carry any protection according to doctrine. On the other hand, biological siblings are not mentioned in the preliminary works or in doctrine. However, it can be deduced from the case study and from the interviews that biological siblings are implicitly included in the child’s entitlement to contact with both parents. This implies a regulation in the entitlement of custody and residency. Hence, the court can decide on a joint living for biological siblings. This means that siblings do have different protection in theory in comparison to practice.

From a historical perspective, the judicial development has been toward greater protection for children in family law disputes. Children’s need of safety is of a primary matter, mainly based on acknowledged child psychology. There have also been significant changes during recent decades in regards of the constellation of families. The circumstance that a family may consist of both biological, half and step children is more often a fact nowadays. Consequently, courts must respond and relate to these situations, which the case study indicates.

In conclusion, the principle of continuity and the principle of continuity between siblings are tied together in the concept of continuity. However, the two of them sets protection due to different interests. “The desire to unite siblings” is very similar to “the reluctance to separate siblings”, but yet it is a term in its own within the framework of the best interest of the child-principle. In case law siblings have a stronger protection and the continuity between siblings may wholly or partly determine the subject matter. In those cases sibling continuity exist, it often accounts for a high position in the ranking of the set criteria’s in the best interest of the child-principle. (Less)
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author
Eriksson, Andréa LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Siblings in family disputes - A study on the concept of continuity from a sibling perspective in custody and residency cases
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Familjerätt, vårdnad, boende, umgänge, barnets bästa, syskon, kontinuitet, kontinuitetsprincipen, oviljan att dela på syskon, viljan att förena syskon.
language
Swedish
id
2543284
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 11:25:57
date last changed
2012-10-15 11:25:57
@misc{2543284,
  abstract     = {According to Swedish family law, the right for siblings to each other is not a stated rule, nor well developed in preliminary works or doctrine. However, there is a higher level of protection of siblings according to case law, which is anchored in the concept of continuity. The concept of continuity is mainly a result from case law, but has its ground in preliminary work. It aims to maintain all current continuity for the child that may arise in family disputes. The concept of continuity consists of two principles; firstly the principle of continuity which relates to environment and parents, and secondly the principle of continuity between siblings, which solely relates to the continuity of the sibling relationship. The last addressed principle can also be named as “the reluctance to separate siblings”. These two principles can only be applied when there is an ongoing continuity in the sibling relationship, which means that the siblings must have been resided or had continuous access to each other. The starting point is that children have a strong need of continuity, stability and security, which the principles protect. However, the case study shows that case law is extending the best interest of the child-principle by referring to “the desire to unite siblings”. It applies when siblings have not been resided nor had extensive access to each other, in order to achieve a joint accommodation. (See appendix A). Therefore, this thesis addresses the concept of continuity in regards of siblings in custody and residency disputes, and to the generally set conditions in the best interest of the child-principle, according to the Swedish parental code 6 chapter 2a §.

The principle of continuity implies that a child’s familiar environment and functioning arrangements shall not be abruptly discontinued without severe reasons. Such severe reasons may be that the child is liable to suffer as living with one of the parents, or if the child has reached such a mature age that the view and wishes must be taken into account. The child may have a certain desire regarding the living, housing, school, friends, recreational activities, keeping contact with other relatives etc. Basically it often results that the child remains with the already residing parent. 

The principle of continuity between siblings, also referred to as “the reluctance to separate siblings”, implies that a separation of residing siblings should be avoided. In addition to the need of a good and close relation with both parents and environment, a child has a need to keep the relationship with the siblings. Nonetheless, this principle is a result of mere case law, and is therefore well anchored in practice. “The desire to unite siblings” resembles with “the reluctance to separate siblings” as they share the same values, and pursuing the same objectives; a good and close relation between siblings. “The desire to unite siblings” is primarily based on the need for siblings to grow up together, and that siblings shall always be a significant circumstance that must be considered by the court when assessing the best interest of the child. 

According to the case study, a joint living in regards of the siblings is granted in eight out of ten cases, both by keeping the siblings together and by uniting them. According to the recited interviews with judges in the Court of Appeals, three out of four judges consider that siblings shall stay together, which they mean children are entitled to. In the four cases where the Court of Appeals granted on a joint living, the judgment was amended in every case. Therefore, it may be noted that there is a strong urge to protect the cohesion of siblings in courts. However, in doctrine “the reluctance to separate siblings” is a less developed principle, and “the desire to unite siblings” in not even mentioned. Thereby, these two principles have a weakened effectiveness in theory. 

The case study is also showing in two of ten cases the Court of Appeal amends the district court’s judgment, and decides on a separate living. It is justified by especially severe circumstances, such as one of the parents is in a better capacity of upbringing the child, or if the child has a certain wish or view in regards of the living. According to the recited interviews, one of four judges does not consider a sibling relationship noteworthy. Rather, there are a variety of other circumstances that may be of primary importance, for example the view and wish of the child itself. 

Furthermore, the case study indicates that all types of siblings shall be recognized as siblings, regardless if the siblings are biological, half or step siblings. The quality of the sibling relationship must be taken into account in the specific case, and determine the subject matter. It is also apparent that unborn siblings shall be considered and carries significant importance in regards of custody and residency disputes. However, in doctrine half and step siblings have a considerably weaker protection, in contrast to case law. According to the preliminary works, a child is only entitled to have contact with the half sibling. A joint living is not possible as half siblings are considered as belonging to the provisions of contact only. Step siblings do not carry any protection according to doctrine. On the other hand, biological siblings are not mentioned in the preliminary works or in doctrine. However, it can be deduced from the case study and from the interviews that biological siblings are implicitly included in the child’s entitlement to contact with both parents. This implies a regulation in the entitlement of custody and residency. Hence, the court can decide on a joint living for biological siblings. This means that siblings do have different protection in theory in comparison to practice. 

From a historical perspective, the judicial development has been toward greater protection for children in family law disputes. Children’s need of safety is of a primary matter, mainly based on acknowledged child psychology. There have also been significant changes during recent decades in regards of the constellation of families. The circumstance that a family may consist of both biological, half and step children is more often a fact nowadays. Consequently, courts must respond and relate to these situations, which the case study indicates. 

In conclusion, the principle of continuity and the principle of continuity between siblings are tied together in the concept of continuity. However, the two of them sets protection due to different interests. “The desire to unite siblings” is very similar to “the reluctance to separate siblings”, but yet it is a term in its own within the framework of the best interest of the child-principle. In case law siblings have a stronger protection and the continuity between siblings may wholly or partly determine the subject matter. In those cases sibling continuity exist, it often accounts for a high position in the ranking of the set criteria’s in the best interest of the child-principle.},
  author       = {Eriksson, Andréa},
  keyword      = {Familjerätt,vårdnad,boende,umgänge,barnets bästa,syskon,kontinuitet,kontinuitetsprincipen,oviljan att dela på syskon,viljan att förena syskon.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Syskon i familjetvist - En studie om begreppet kontinuitet i vårdnads- och boendemål ur ett syskonperspektiv},
  year         = {2012},
}