Legal Representation and Parental Authority of Minors

According to the law, the legal representation of an unemancipated minor corresponds to the holder of parental authority. But how is this regulated?
Legal Representation and Parental Authority of Minors

Last update: 01 September, 2019

Under the eyes of the law, parents with legal representation and parental authority are in charge of their unemancipated children. Parents have several duties and obligations to their children. They ought to protect them, take care of them, and provide them with proper physical, intellectual, and emotional development.

To do this and also be able to make the right and necessary choices to keep the minors safe, parents need ample legal authority over them. This is parental authority.

As you’ve probably guessed, parental authority refers to the complete power the law gives to parents over their children and their possessions. However, in some cases, the law can strip one parent, or even both, of this parental authority.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about the legal representation of minors and how it’s different from parental authority.

Legal Representation and Parental Authority of Minors

What is parental authority?

Parental authority refers to all the faculties the law gives to parents over their unemancipated minor. These faculties have two ramifications: personal and patrimonial.

Among the main powers that parents have as legal guardians of their children are to take care of them, to keep them in their company, to feed them, to educate them and to give them the best integral education. Parents also need to be their legal representatives and manage their possessions.

Parental authority and legal representation of a child ends when they become full of age and capacity, after their 18th birthday. However, there are a few exceptions.

These two conditions, parental authority and legal representation, can end earlier if children become legally emancipated. In the same way, it can also continue after the child’s reached full age if declared incapable.

What happens after a divorce?

If parents get a divorce or separation, parental authority and legal representation of their children still belongs to both of them, unless a court’s ruling says the contrary. However, in reality, the parent that lives with the children becomes the sole guardian and effectively holds both parental authority and legal representation.

Some cases need both parents’ legal authority. For example, emancipations, expenses not covered by child support, important decisions in the child’s life, foreign travel, etc.

Legal Representation and Parental Authority of Minors

Parents with parental authority also have legal representation duties, but there are a few exceptions to this. Parents can represent the children in presentations related to rights of personality when their children can represent themselves. In cases like these, parents can and should intervene just when their abilities and duties are in question.

Parents with parental authority can’t legally represent their children when there’s a conflict of interests between parents and children. They won’t be able to do it either in acts related to patrimonies not administered by the parents.

According to an analysis of possible settings, if children are contractually obliged to something, they need to give their permission, only if they’re mature enough.

Legal Representation and Parental Authority of Minors

When the parents of an unemancipated minor have a conflict of interest with him, an attorney will be assigned to represent the child during trial and outside of it as well. This also applies in cases of emancipated minors, in case parental intervention is needed to fulfill the child’s legal abilities.

If there’s a conflict of interests with just one of the parents, the other parent must represent their child, without needing to appoint a third party. The goal is to always keep the best interests of the child in mind.


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