Co-parenting or the joint exercise of parental authority

Co-parenting or the joint exercise of parental authority means that both parents are expected to decide, in mutual consultation, on the most important topics concerning the maintenance and upbringing of their children.
These topics include the registration of their children at a particular residential address or school, the most effective medical treatments, etc. Decisions such as these are, principally speaking, always subject to the approval of both parents.

Everyday, more practical matters can be decided individually by either parent and do not require the cooperation of the other parent.

One of the most important rights associated with parental authority is the right to custody of the child. This is set off against the duty of giving the child a home, which rests on each parent individually.

When parents separate and actually live apart from each other, the joint exercise of parental authority may give rise to problems. It is therefore of paramount importance that both parents make clear and concretely defined agreements in regard of this,

in which an appropriate division of rights and obligations must be arrived at between both parents.

“We take the time to get to know the client and the counterparty”


Ever since the Act of 18 July 2006 was passed, a regime involving the equal division of residential custody has become the preferred option.

Consequently, equally divided residential custody is the priority regime to be explored and it will always be ascertained whether this regime can be applied in the interest of the children.

In practice, equally divided residential custody is defined in various ways: as residential co-parenting, a co-parenting arrangement, co-parenting, and so on. This means that the children involved reside with each parent equally often.

An equally divided residential custody or co-parenting arrangement can be given shape in many ways. The most commonly applied version is the week-by-week arrangement, in which the children switch from one parent’s residence to another only once a week. Parents of younger children often prefer shorter periods, such as the 2-2-3 arrangement or a switch of residence every three days.

Which parenting regime is the most appropriate depends on several factors and should always be examined on a case-by-case basis.

If the parents cannot agree on a parenting regime, this will be decided by the competent court.

Bearing in mind that equally divided residential custody is the priority regime, this will only be deviated from in the event of factors pointing against the application of this regime.

These are, for instance, the age of the children in question (if they are still very young), a substantial geographical distance between the parents’ residences, limited availability one of the parents, or an unsafe parental environment.


When the children’s primary residence is with only one parent, with a secondary right of residence allocated to the other parent, a 9-5 arrangement or a fortnightly weekend stay with the other parent are the most common arrangements.


Thanks to our many years of experience, we at Keyser advocaten have acquired special expertise in assisting our clients and arriving at a suitable, appropriate residential custody arrangement that takes into account the concrete family circumstances.

It is, of course, of paramount importance that a realistic and practically feasible arrangement is agreed upon or ordered, so that both parents can adhere to this and the children can be guaranteed the security and stability they need.

‘During the negotiation process or in the course of the proceedings, we will offer various creative solutions that take into account the parents’ professional schedules, the children’s hobbies, any children from a previous relationship, and so on.

We aim to arrive at a tailor-made solution that clearly reflects the interests of both the children and their parents. Every family situation is unique, after all, and cannot be reduced to standard arrangements and provisions.

We work in close consultation with our clients to arrive at a clear arrangement that will provide the necessary stability for the new family situation, with due consideration for the interests of all parties involved.’


If you have any questions about international relationships and international divorces, or would like a consultation with lawyers specialising in international relationships and international marriages, please contact our law firm in Antwerp.

We aim to relieve our clients of their concerns to the greatest extent possible, and to offer them services that exceed their expectations.

Amerikalei 187
2000 Antwerpen