Right of access

In addition to custody rights, access rights are a key issue that must be regulated for the benefit of the child. This is because the right to see the child regularly is inevitably linked to the child’s well-being and advancement. Also, the change in life situation for the child and the associated psychological stresses, such as those caused by the separation and divorce of the parents, can be softened by still maintaining contact with both parents.

A mutually agreed solution between the parents within a contact agreement can create clarity for all concerned. Here, it is important to establish contact dates and their duration over a longer period of time in a fair and unmistakable manner, based on the best interests of the child and the interests of the parents.

There are numerous options for structuring such contact agreements. The traditional form of contact is the residence model. In this case, the child has a permanent residence with one parent and only visits are planned with the other parent. In contrast, the alternating model provides for the child to reside equally with both parents in turn. In the meantime, increasingly parents are also choosing the nest model. Here, a family home remains as a “nest” for the children, where they have their permanent residence, while the parents take turns staying with the children.

In the current corona period, the question arises of what happens to access agreements that have been made. In particular, curfews can present difficulties in the realization of the right of access. It may be questionable whether contact can be denied because of these barriers.

The answer is no, because relatives in a straight line, i.e. fathers or mothers, may continue to spend time together with their children in public and, of course, also at home. A potential risk of infection does not justify a refusal of personal contact. Even the mere suspicion or allegation that the child may be infected with the virus is not sufficient to suspend contact. However, if the parent with access rights demonstrably ignores the applicable distance rules and does not restrict social contacts, he or she is also endangering the child. In such a case, the mother/father can stop contact. Mere suspicion or allegation is not sufficient for this, though.

Nevertheless, if the child or one of the parents shows symptoms of a cold or belongs to a risk group, it may make sense to suspend contact at first. Contact must then be made up for later.

Schools and kindergartens are currently partially closed. The effects on the right of access may be questionable here. In fact, the situation corresponds to the vacation arrangements in a contact agreement. The time off from school/kindergarten is in principle to be divided fairly between both parents. However, the respective work situation of each parent is decisive for this. The “vacation arrangement” in Corona times can only be implemented in practice if both parents can ensure care.

Instead of the then cancelled personal contact, additional telephone appointments or contact via Skype should be arranged.

In any case, a mutual agreement between the parents is recommended. The parents must agree – if necessary through their lawyers. Contact is about the well-being of the child and not about the well-being of daddy or mommy. Children love both parents and need the closeness of both.

Contact with grandparents should be suspended in Corona times – to protect the grandparents. The contact is then made up for.

Round Table

We rightly talk about these topics in our Round Table meetings. The Round Table is an action of Herfurth & Partner and serves to clarify and secure wishes and decisions in the family in connection with assets, provision and succession.

The next dates can be found in the Round Table section (welcome homepage).


Further information on many topics can be found in the Publications section (welcome homepage).

Your counsellor

Angelika Herfurth

Attorney at law and specialist lawyer for family law

Learn more under ABOUT US

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sprechen Sie uns an!

Tel: +49 511-30756-0
Oder schreiben Sie uns:

    * Pflichtfeld

    Ich erkläre mich mit der Übertragung meiner Daten über ein gesichertes Formular einverstanden.*