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Barnets bästa eller domstolens handlingsmakt? Om bedömningen av barnets bästa i vårdnadstvister

Magnusson, Maija LU (2022) LAGF03 20221
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Principen om barnets bästa ska vara avgörande i alla frågor som rör vårdnad, boende och umgänge. Den bärande principen återfinns i både FN:s barnkonvention och i föräldrabalken. Principen ska fungera som en rättslig vägledning vid alla utredningar i mål som rör barn, men det finns ingen universellt fastslagen definition av vad som faktiskt är barnets bästa. Utgångspunkterna är att bedöma barnets bästa utifrån vad som objektivt sett anses vara barnets bästa, i kombination med att den specifika situationen och barnets individuella behov beaktas.

Vårdnadstvister är ett exempel på ett förfarande när barnets bästa ska vara avgörande. Vårdnadstvister aktualiseras när båda eller en av barnets föräldrar (biologiska eller adoptivföräldrar)... (More)
Principen om barnets bästa ska vara avgörande i alla frågor som rör vårdnad, boende och umgänge. Den bärande principen återfinns i både FN:s barnkonvention och i föräldrabalken. Principen ska fungera som en rättslig vägledning vid alla utredningar i mål som rör barn, men det finns ingen universellt fastslagen definition av vad som faktiskt är barnets bästa. Utgångspunkterna är att bedöma barnets bästa utifrån vad som objektivt sett anses vara barnets bästa, i kombination med att den specifika situationen och barnets individuella behov beaktas.

Vårdnadstvister är ett exempel på ett förfarande när barnets bästa ska vara avgörande. Vårdnadstvister aktualiseras när båda eller en av barnets föräldrar (biologiska eller adoptivföräldrar) önskar ändring i vårdnaden, antingen när en eller båda föräldrarna har vårdnaden, eller när barnet står under vårdnaden av särskilt eller tillfälligt förordnade vårdnadshavare. I båda situationerna ska domstolen ta hänsyn till vilken form av vårdnad som – utifrån barnets bästa – är lämpligast, ensam eller gemensam vårdnad.

I uppsatsen kommer barnets bästa och vårdnadstvister att utredas med hjälp av den rättsdogmatiska metoden. Syftet med uppsatsen är att öka förståelsen för rättslivet och att svara på de uppställda frågeställningarna. Frågeställningarna rör främst bedömningen av barnets bästa, samt skillnaden mellan ensam och gemensam vårdnad. Egna slutsatser utifrån det presenterade kommer att dras, och problematik som föreligger preciseras. Genomgående tillämpas ett kritiskt perspektiv.

Den huvudsakliga problemformuleringen i uppsatsen fokuserar på skillnaden i domstolens handlingsfrihet i situationer där båda föräldrarna motsätter sig gemensam vårdnad, beroende på vem som har vårdnaden av barnet. I de fallen då båda föräldrarna eller någon av dem har vårdnaden av barnet är domstolen inte förhindrad att döma till gemensam vårdnad vid motsättning därtill. Däremot är domstolen förhindrad att döma till gemensam vårdnad mot båda föräldrarnas motsättning av vårdnadsformen, när barnet står under vårdnaden av särskilt eller tillfälligt förordnade vårdnadshavare. Det har inte gjorts tydligt i förarbeten eller efterföljande rättspraxis varför denna uppdelning finns. Givet att domstolen ska prioritera barnets bästa i vårdnadstvister kan det ifrågasättas varför skillnaden finns.

En annan central problematik ligger i att principen om barnets bästa är en flexibel princip som lämnar utrymme för godtycklighet och normbundna antaganden. Dessutom finns det problem med att barnets rätt att komma till tals tillmäts olika stor betydelse beroende på barnets ålder och mognadsnivå. När det gäller vårdnadsfrågan är ytterligare ett bekymmer att domstolen ska fästa särskilt avseende vid föräldrarnas förmåga att ta gemensamt ansvar i frågor som rör barnet, i bedömningen om gemensam vårdnad är möjligt. Att ställa krav på gemensamt ansvarstagande är inte optimalt i de situationer då det exempelvis förekommit våld i sammanhanget. (Less)
Abstract
The principle of the best interests of the child must be decisive in every legal process regarding children. The operative principle is found in both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Swedish Parental Code. The principle should serve as a legal guide in all investigations regarding children. Yet there is no universally established definition of the actual meaning of the best interests of the child. The guidance is to assess the child’s best interests based on what objectively is considered best for a child, in combination with observing the specific situation and considering the child’s individual needs.

Custody disputes are an example of a legal procedure when the best interest of the child shall be decisive.... (More)
The principle of the best interests of the child must be decisive in every legal process regarding children. The operative principle is found in both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Swedish Parental Code. The principle should serve as a legal guide in all investigations regarding children. Yet there is no universally established definition of the actual meaning of the best interests of the child. The guidance is to assess the child’s best interests based on what objectively is considered best for a child, in combination with observing the specific situation and considering the child’s individual needs.

Custody disputes are an example of a legal procedure when the best interest of the child shall be decisive. Custody disputes arise when both or one of the parents (biological or adoptive parents) wish for a change in the custody – either when both or one of the child’s parents have the custody of the child, or when the child is under the custody of specially or temporarily appointed guardians. In both situations, the court must take into consideration which form of custody – based on the best interests of the child – is the most appropriate, sole, or shared custody.

In this essay, the child’s best interests and custody disputes will be investigated using the legal dogmatic method. The purpose of the thesis is to increase the understanding of legal life and to answer the questions posed. The questions mainly concern the assessment of the child’s best interests, and the difference between sole and shared custody. The last part of the essay will be dedicated to conclusions made based on the investigation. A critical perspective is applied throughout the essay.

The main issue regarding custody disputes is the difference in the court’s freedom of action depending on who has custody of the child, in situations where both parents oppose shared custody. In cases where both or one of the parents has custody of the child, the court is not prevented from deciding on shared custody despite the opposition therefore. On the other hand, the court is prevented from deciding on shared custody against both parents’ opposition, when the child is under the custody of specially or temporarily appointed guardians. It has not made clear in preparatory work or subsequent case law why this division exists. Given that the court is supposed to keep the best interest of the child as its main priority in custody disputes, this difference in freedom of action can be questioned.

Another central issue concerns the fact that the principle of the best interest of the child is a flexible principle, which leaves room for arbitrariness and assumptions bound to norms. Moreover, an issue is that the child’s right to be heard is given different importance depending on the child’s age and level of maturity. Regarding custody, a further issue discussed in the essay is that the court is supposed to pay special attention to the parents’ ability to take common responsibility in matters concerning the child, in the consideration of shared custody. Making demands for common responsibility is not optimal, for an example in situations where violence has been present. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Magnusson, Maija LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20221
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
familjerätt, family law, barnets bästa, best interests of the child, vårdnadstvist, custody disputes
language
Swedish
id
9080787
date added to LUP
2022-06-28 10:52:38
date last changed
2022-06-28 10:52:38
@misc{9080787,
  abstract     = {{The principle of the best interests of the child must be decisive in every legal process regarding children. The operative principle is found in both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Swedish Parental Code. The principle should serve as a legal guide in all investigations regarding children. Yet there is no universally established definition of the actual meaning of the best interests of the child. The guidance is to assess the child’s best interests based on what objectively is considered best for a child, in combination with observing the specific situation and considering the child’s individual needs.

Custody disputes are an example of a legal procedure when the best interest of the child shall be decisive. Custody disputes arise when both or one of the parents (biological or adoptive parents) wish for a change in the custody – either when both or one of the child’s parents have the custody of the child, or when the child is under the custody of specially or temporarily appointed guardians. In both situations, the court must take into consideration which form of custody – based on the best interests of the child – is the most appropriate, sole, or shared custody. 

In this essay, the child’s best interests and custody disputes will be investigated using the legal dogmatic method. The purpose of the thesis is to increase the understanding of legal life and to answer the questions posed. The questions mainly concern the assessment of the child’s best interests, and the difference between sole and shared custody. The last part of the essay will be dedicated to conclusions made based on the investigation. A critical perspective is applied throughout the essay. 

The main issue regarding custody disputes is the difference in the court’s freedom of action depending on who has custody of the child, in situations where both parents oppose shared custody. In cases where both or one of the parents has custody of the child, the court is not prevented from deciding on shared custody despite the opposition therefore. On the other hand, the court is prevented from deciding on shared custody against both parents’ opposition, when the child is under the custody of specially or temporarily appointed guardians. It has not made clear in preparatory work or subsequent case law why this division exists. Given that the court is supposed to keep the best interest of the child as its main priority in custody disputes, this difference in freedom of action can be questioned.

Another central issue concerns the fact that the principle of the best interest of the child is a flexible principle, which leaves room for arbitrariness and assumptions bound to norms. Moreover, an issue is that the child’s right to be heard is given different importance depending on the child’s age and level of maturity. Regarding custody, a further issue discussed in the essay is that the court is supposed to pay special attention to the parents’ ability to take common responsibility in matters concerning the child, in the consideration of shared custody. Making demands for common responsibility is not optimal, for an example in situations where violence has been present.}},
  author       = {{Magnusson, Maija}},
  language     = {{swe}},
  note         = {{Student Paper}},
  title        = {{Barnets bästa eller domstolens handlingsmakt? Om bedömningen av barnets bästa i vårdnadstvister}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}