THE MATERNITY AND PATERNITY OF A CHILD.
A Child’s Right to Know Both its Parents.
A Child has the right to know both its parents. A mother is obliged to declare the paternity of her child when the paternity rules of Article 2 do not apply.
Principles Governing the Paternity of Children Born in Wedlock and Children Born to Cohabiting Parents.
The husband of a child’s mother shall be presumed to be the child’s father if the child is born during their marriage. The same applies of a child s born so soon after the termination of marriage as to have been possibly conceived in wedlock. This does not, however, apply if the husband and wife were legally separated at the time of the child’s conception or if the mother marries or registers cohabitation with another man prior to the birth of the child.
If a mother, after the birth of her child, marries the man whom she has alleged to be the child’s father he shall be presumed to be its father provided that the child’s paternity has not been determined at that time.
Determination of the Paternity of Children to Whom the Provisions of Article 2 Do Not Apply.
In cases where the provisions of Article 2 in respect of paternity do not apply, a child’s paternity shall be determined by a recognition of paternity, cf. Article 4, acceptance cf. Article 6 or a judicial resolution, cf. Chapter II.
Recognition of Paternity.
If a man whom a woman alleges to be the father of her child recognizes his paternity in a written declaration before a magistrate, before a judge in a case according to Chapter II or in a written statement he shall be presumed to be the child’s father. If a statement is given in writing its signature shall be confirmed by a district court or the Supreme Court advocate or by two witnesses. It shall be stated that the person issuing this declaration has signed his name or acknowledged his signature in the presence of the person or persons confirming the signature. The witnesses shall state their personal identification numbers issued or their birthday and address as the case may be.
The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs may decide that recognition of paternity obtained abroad shall have the same effect as recognition of paternity obtained in Iceland.
If the alleged father is a minor his statement shall be given before a magistrate or a judge in the presence of his guardian.
If the mental condition of a man alleged to be a child’s father is such as to make it uncertain that he understands the significance of recognition of paternity, a judicial resolution shall be obtained in the matter.
A judicial resolution shall be obtained if a mother states that she has had sexual intercourse with more than one man at the time of the child’s conception. This is however not necessary if the results of anthropological studies point without doubt to a certain man, whom the mother has alleged to be the child’s probable father, being its father. Then that man can recognize the paternity of the child.
If the results of anthropological studies preclude the man whom a mother has alleged to be a child’s father from being its father then the cost of research, which the magistrate has deemed necessary, shall be borne by the State Treasury.
Maternity of Children Conceived by Artificial Insemination.
A woman who bears a child conceived by artificial insemination is deemed to be its mother.
Paternity of Children Conceived by Artificial Insemination.
A man who has agreed that his wife be artificially inseminated according to the Act on is deemed to be the father of a child so conceived. The same applies to a man and a woman who have registered their cohabitation with the National Registry.
A man who donates sperm for the purpose of it being used in artificial insemination a woman other than his wife or cohabiting spouse, cf. paragraph 1, according to the provisions of the Act on Artificial Insemination will not be deemed to be the father of a child conceived with his sperm.
A man who donates sperm for another purpose than stipulated in paragraph 2 is deemed to be the father of a child conceived with his sperm unless the sperm is used without his knowledge or after his decease.
Registration of a Child’s Paternity.
A child shall be registered in the National Registry immediately after its birth.
A physician or a midwife attending childbirth shall ask a mother who is not married about the child’s paternity and record her statement thereon. The statement shall be signed by the mother and sent to the National Registry. The man who the mother alleges to be the father of a child shall however not be registered as the child’s father in the National Registry unless the child’s paternity is determined in accordance with this Act. The Minister of Statistics Iceland may in a regulation lay down further rules regarding the form and implementation of the registration according to paragraphs 1 and 2.
If a child’s paternity has not been stated within six months from the child’s birth the National Registry shall notify the magistrate where the mother’s legal residence is that the child’s paternity has not yet been stated.
When a magistrate receives a notice according to paragraph 3 he shall in a letter draw the mother’s attention to the provision of Article 1 and insists that she make arrangements for the declaration of the child’s paternity. She shall be informed of her duties in this regard and of the right of the child, as well as of the right of man who believes himself to be the father of a child to instigate legal proceedings.
COURT ACTION CONCERNING THE PATERNITY OF CHILDREN.
Court proceedings for determining the paternity of children can be instigated in Iceland if:
The party is a resident of Iceland,
If the defendant’s estate at death is or has been subject to settlement in Iceland,
The child is a resident of Iceland.
Litigation according to this Act shall be governed by Icelandic law.
Provisions of international agreements to which Iceland is a party shall proceed over Articles 1 and 2.
Paternity action may be instigated in the home venue of the party.
If neither party nor none of them has a venue in Iceland the action can be instigated before the District court of Reykjavik.
The Plaintiff in a paternity action can be the child itself, its mother or a man who believes himself to be the father of the child, provided that the paternity of the child has not been determined. If a child-s mother has instigated legal action but has died before the case has been brought to conclusion the person who assumes the child’s custody may continue the action.
If the child itself or its mother instigates legal action the defendant or defendants shall be the man or men who allegedly have had sexual intercourse with the child’s mother during the time of the child’s conception. If a defendant has died before the action has commenced the action may be directed against his legal heir that is equal or next in line to the child for inheritance.
If a man who believes himself to be the father of a child the child’s mother shall be the defendant or if she has died then the child itself.
If the child is the Plaintiff and legal fees of the Plaintiff’s attorney as determined by the judge shall be paid by the State Treasury as well as the Plaintiff’s other legal fees, including cost of obtaining anthropological research and other specialists’ reports.
Paternity cases shall be subject to general civil procedure unless otherwise stipulated in this Act.
Court proceedings in a paternity case shall be held in camera.
If the Defendant does not attend court when a case is instigated or his attendance ceases in later stages a judge may, under special circumstances, appoint a representative for him. The representative shall consult with his client if possible. In ruling on the case the judge will decide a fee for the representative to be paid by the State Treasury but the Defendant may be sentenced to repay the fee in part or in full.
Statements by the Parties.
Parties to the case are obliged to heed summons by the judge to appear before court and make a statement. If the Plaintiff does not do so the case shall be dismissed from court. The same shall apply if the Plaintiff refuses to undergo tests according to Article 15 or to subject the child to such a test if the Plaintiff has the custody of the child. If a party otherwise refuses to appear before court a judge can use the same measures against him as may be used against witnesses.
A judge may, if so requested, order that the blood of the parties to the case and the child, be examined, and that other scientific examinations be performed, including anthropological tests. The persons in question are obliged to subject themselves to the taking of blood samples as well as to other examinations for the purpose of scientific testing. The judge may in the same manner order that blood tests and other anthropological tests be performed on the parents of the parties, and as applicable on their siblings and other children. A ruling according to this paragraph may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The police are obliged to heed a judge’s request for assistance in transferring parties to examinations according to paragraph 1.
Collection of Evidence by the Judge.
The judge may if deemed necessary, collect evidence on his own accord, provided that he has previously requested the parties to obtain such evidence to no avail.
A man shall be deemed to be the father of a child if the results of anthropological examinations point conclusively to him as the father.
Conclusion of a Case.
A case conducted according to the provisions of this chapter may be concluded with a court settlement should the parties so choose or otherwise by a court judgment unless it is dismissed or proceedings ceased.
The judge shall send the National Registry information on a child’s paternity on forms provided by Statistics Iceland.
Anonymity and Publication of the Judgment.
Prior to transcripts from court proceedings and court records being delivered to persons other than the parties to the case, items shall be removed therefrom that shall remain secret due to private interest.
REBUTTAL OF A CHILD’S PATERNITY AND FOR INVALIDATION OF RECOGNITION OF PATERNITY.
Jurisdiction and Venue.
Articles 8 and 9 apply to jurisdiction and venue in cases according to this chapter.
Legal action for rebuttal of a child’s paternity may be instigated by the child itself and its mother, also the man who is registered as the father of the child according to Article 2 and if he is dead his heir that is equal to or next in line to the child in inheritance.
Court action for invalidation of a paternity recognition can be instigated by a child, the man who has recognized the paternity of a child and the child’s mother.
The case instigated by a child or its mother shall be brought against the father or following his death to his heir who is equal to or next in line to the child in inheritance. A case instigated by the father or his successor shall be brought against the mother or, following her death, against the child itself.
The provisions of Articles 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, paragraph 2 of Article 18 and Article 19, apply to cases conducted according to this chapter.
Rebuttal of the Paternity of a Child Conceived by Artificial Insemination.
In case a man has agreed to the artificial insemination of his wife or the woman with whom he cohabits, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 6, a request for rebuttal of a child’s paternity in a court action according to this chapter shall only be granted if it is established that the child was not conceived by the artificial insemination.
Conclusion of a Case.
A case instigated according to this Chapter can be concluded with a court settlement, if the parties so choose, according to the results of anthropological examinations, or by a court judgment unless the case is dismissed or proceedings ceased.
PAYMENTS RELATING TO CHLDBIRTH AND PREGNANCY.
Payments to the Mother.
Under exceptional circumstances, a magistrate may order the father of a child to pay support allowance (alimony) for a total of three months before and after the child’s birth, upon her demand.
If a mother suffers a disease arising from pregnancy or childbirth the magistrate may, upon her demand, order the father to pay her a monthly support for care and maintenance, however not longer than up to nine months after childbirth.
Payments in accordance with this Article may also be order in the event of stillbirth.
Cost Relating to Pregnancy, Childbirth etc.
In case it is established that the father of a child has committed an offence against its mother as described in Article 58, the magistrate shall order him, upon her demand, to pay all costs arising from pregnancy and childbirth.
Upon the demand of a woman, a magistrate may furthermore order the man responsible for her pregnancy, cf. paragraph 1, to pay the costs of lawful abortion.
Due Date etc.
Contributions under Articles 25 and 26 are due as soon as they are ordered, unless otherwise stipulated by the magistrate in the ruling.
Contributions according to paragraph 1 shall not be ordered further retroactive than one year from the date on which a request was submitted except in extraordinary circumstances.
Contributions according to Articles 25 and 26 belong to the child’s mother.
PARTENTAL DUTIES AND CUSTODY OF A CHILD.
The Content of Custody.
Parents have the duty to afford their child care and consideration and to observe their duties of upbringing and custodianship as best suits their child’s interests and needs.
The custody of a child entails the parents’ duty to protect their child against mental and physical violence and other degrading demeanor.
Parents shall provide their child with education as required by law and encourage it in industry and morality. Parents shall to the best of their ability provide their child with education and vocational training in accordance with the child’s abilities and interests.
The custody of a child entails the parent’s rights to manage the child’s personal affairs and determine their place of residence. The parent who has custody furthermore has the legal representation for a child.
A child is entitled to the custodianship of its parents, one or both, and the parents have custodial duties towards their child, until its reaches the age when it becomes competent to manage its personal affairs. A parent who is a child’s sole custodian has the duty of providing for the child’s access to its other parent, provided that such access is not contrary to the child’s interests and needs in the opinion of a judge or a competent administrative authority.
Parents shall consult their child before making decisions concerning their personal affairs having regard to the child’s age and maturity. The position of the child shall be given more importance as the child grows older and matures.
If one of the parents who has custody of a child is hindered in performing his custodial duties the necessary decisions regarding the child’s personal affairs taken by the other parent are valid.
If parents have the joint custody of a child the one parent pay not take the child out of Iceland except with the approval of the other parent.
Subject to Article 31, paragraph 3, a child is entitled to the custody of both parents if the parents are married or are registered as cohabiting.
If a child’s parents are neither married nor cohabiting at the time of its birth its mother shall, subject to Article 31, paragraph 1, alone have the custody of the child.
If an unmarried parent who alone has the custody of his or her child marries or begins cohabiting with a person who is not the child’s other parent then the stepparent or cohabiting parent shall also have custody of the child, provided that registered cohabitation in the National Registry has lasted continuously for more than one year. Subject to Article 30, paragraph 2, the custody of the stepparent or cohabiting parent only lasts as long as the marriage or cohabitation.
Article 28, Article 30, paragraph 5 and 6, Article 32, paragraphs 3 to 5 and Articles 33 to 35 also applies to persons other than parents who have the custody of a child according to this Act as applicable.
Custody in Case of the Death of a Custodial Parent.
If parents have the joint custody of their child and one parent dies, the surviving parent shall alone have the custody of the child, with the spouse or cohabiting partner of the surviving parent, cf. Article 29, paragraph 3, as the case may be.
If one parent has had custody of a child, a stepparent or a cohabiting parent who also has had custody, cf. Article 29, paragraph 3, shall continue to have custody after the dearth of the custodial parent.
After the death of a parent who has had sole custody of his or her child, the child’s custody shall go to the other parent.
After the death of the custodial parent custody may upon that parent’s request be committed by an agreement cf. Article 32 or judgment to another person than the person to whom custody would otherwise be committed according to paragraph 1-3 if that is deemed to best serve the child’s interests.
If a child becomes without a custodian by reason of the death of its custodial parents the children’s welfare committee shall have custody of the child.
If custodial parents have decided who shall have custody of their child upon their death and that decision shall be honored unless that decision is contrary to law or other arrangements are deemed to best serve the child’s interests.
A statement according to paragraph 6 shall be given in writing and its signature shall be confirmed by a magistrate or an advocate to the district court or the Supreme Court. It shall be clearly stated that the issuer of the statement has signed his or her name in the presence of the person confirming the signature and that he or she has been advised of the legal effects of the statement.
Custody in Case of Divorce or Separation of Parents.
The matter of custody shall always be resolved when parents separate or divorce, and when unmarried cohabiting parents, whose cohabitation has been registered in the National Registry, separate.
Parents can agree among themselves that they both shall have custody of their child (joint custody) or that one of them shall have custody.
If married parents separate without terminating the marriage they can agree that one of them has the custody of a child.
If case of dispute concerning the custody of a child upon termination of marriage or the separation of married or cohabiting parents whose cohabitation has been registered in the National Registry, the matter shall be resolved as stipulated in Article 34.
Agreements Between Parents Concerning Custody.
Parents may agree to have joint custody of a child. An agreement on joint custody shall specify with which parent the child shall have legal residence and consequently where it shall generally stay.
Parents may agree among themselves to change custody arrangements with the effect of transferring custody from one parent to the other or that joint custody is terminated and custody transferred to one parent.
Parents may agree among themselves to commit custody of their child to a third party, provided that the children’s welfare committee recommends such arrangement. If one parent has custody of a child the opinion of the other parent shall be sought.
A parents’ agreement on custody may be temporary, however it cannot be for a period less than six months.
An agreement stipulating the custody of a child becomes effective when approved by a magistrate. The magistrate shall send the National Registry a copy of a certified custody agreement between parents. The magistrate shall provide the parties with guidance as to the legal effects of their agreement. If such agreement is contrary to a child’s best interests and needs the magistrate may withhold its approval and shall do so if it is contrary to law.
A magistrate shall offer parties to custody, access and per diem fine case professional advice to assist them in resolving the matter with the best interests of the child in mind. The counselor can have discussions with the child in question if he believes this is in its best interests provided that the custodial parents agree.
A magistrate can omit offer professional counseling according to paragraph 1 if he believes it to be unnecessary or futile.
Persons giving counseling according to paragraph 1 must keep confidential knowledge that they gain in the performance of their duties or due to their professional duties if such knowledge shall be kept confidential according to Article 18 of the Act on the Rights and Obligations of Civil Servants. Violation of confidentiality is punishable according to Chapter XIV of the Penal Code.
The Ministry of Justice can lay down further rules on counseling according to paragraph 1, as well as on the arrangement of service agreements with parties providing such counseling.
Court Action Relating to Custody of Children, etc.
When parents dispute concerning the custody of a child a judge shall render judgment in the case if reconciliation has not been reached on its custody. In case parents seek divorce before a court a judge shall concurrently resolve custody dispute. A magistrate can grant a couple a divorce license even though court action relating to the custody of their child is in process.
A judge shall decide with which parent the child’s custody shall be, according to the best interests of the child. A joint custody of a child cannot be determined in a court judgment but the parents can in court reconciliation determine joint custody.
In resolving custody cases it shall i.a. be taken into consideration whether the parent who demands custody of his or her child has been hindered in having access to the child.
In a dispute concerning the custody of a child the judge must, upon the request of one or both parents, stipulate child support payment in a court judgment, as well as the nature of the right of access of a child to its parents, according to the child’s best interests, if reconciliation has not been reached on this issue, provided that a demand thereon has been made in the summons or the report by the Defendant. A judge may refuse to determine the content of the right of access if such a resolution is in the best interest of the child.
The provisions of Chapter VI otherwise apply to the procedure in these cases.
A judge shall submit to the National Registry information on the conclusion of a custody case on form provided by Statistics Iceland.
Provisional Determination of Custody, Etc.
In a case where the custody of a child is under dispute a judge may decide provisionally upon the request of the parties how the child’s custody shall be arranged, depending upon the child’s bests interests. A judge may determine right of access and provisional payment of child support.
If a judge denies a demand for the termination of joint custody while a custody case is in process before the court he may nevertheless determine the child’s legal residence, right of access and provisional child support. In such a case a judge may furthermore determine that a child shall live with its parents interchangeably, provided that such an arrangement is deemed to be in the child’s best interest.
A ruling according to paragraphs 1 and 2 may be amended under extraordinary circumstances if that is deemed to be in the child’s best interests.
If a custody case has not been concluded before the district court a judge may, upon the request by the parties, so stipulate in a ruling that the child may not be taken from Iceland until the case has been resolved. If custody proceedings are conducted before the Supreme Court the court may in the same manner decide that the child may not be taken from Iceland. A judge shall immediately send a ruling on travel restraint to the State Police Commissioner.
A ruling by the District Court according to paragraph 1–4 may be appealed to the Supreme Court by normal means. The appeal of a travel restriction ruling according to paragraph 4 does however not suspend the legal effects of the ruling.
A ruling according to paragraph 1–4 does not bind the hands of a judge when determining the custody, right of access or child support according to Article 34.
A judge does not become incompetent to rule on a case according to Article 34 only because he has rendered a ruling according to paragraph 1–4.
A ruling according to paragraph 1–4 is automatically revoked when custody judgment is rendered. This does however not apply if a judge has determined that an appeal of a judgment suspends its legal effects. In that case the ruling is automatically terminated when either a judgment by the district court in the case becomes binding on the resolution of the dispute, cf. Article 44, paragraph 1, or a judgment is passed by the Supreme Court.
The provisions of Article 34, paragraph 6 apply to rulings according to paragraph 1–3.
COURT ACTION RELATING TO A DISPUTE CONCERNING THE CUSTODY OF A CHILD.
Court action relating to dispute concerning the custody of a child may be instigated in Iceland under the following conditions.
- The Defendant is a resident of Iceland.
- If the child or children concerned are a resident or residents of Iceland.
- If the Plaintiff is an Icelandic citizen and it is established that he is, by reason of his nationality, barred from instigating legal action in the country of residence or in the country wherein the Defendant or the children reside, or
- Both parents are Icelandic citizens and the Defendant does not object to the action being instigated in Iceland.
A case processed according to paragraph 1 is governed by Icelandic law.
The provisions of international agreements to which Iceland is a party shall take precedence over the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2.
If a claim concerning custody is made in a case concerning the status of marriage the principles of the Act on Marriage regarding jurisdiction and venue shall apply. As regards the custody aspect of the case the provisions of this Chapter shall be observed.
A case shall be instigated in the home venue of the child or in the home venue of the defendant otherwise. If neither of them has home venue in Iceland the case can be instigated in the home venue of the Plaintiff.
If neither of the parties nor the child have home venue in Iceland the case can be instigated before the District Court of Reykjavik.
Cases concerning the custody of a child shall be subject to general civil procedure unless otherwise stipulated in this Act.
Court sessions in a custody case shall be held in camera.
The process of a custody case shall be expeditious.
If the Defendant does not attend court when a case is instigated or his attendance ceases in later stages a judge may, under special circumstances, appoint a representative for him. The representative shall consult with his client if possible. In ruling on the case the judge will decide a fee for the representative to be paid by the State Treasury but the Defendant may be sentenced to repay the fee in part or in full.
A judge may decide that reconciliation between the parties shall be sought according to Article 33 instead of seeking reconciliation himself.
Facts of the Case.
Parties can bring forth new facts and make new objections until such time as the case is taken for adjudication.
The judge shall not be bound by the requests and facts as presented by the parties.
Collection of Evidence.
The judge monitors the collection of evidence. The parties to the case shall, as summoned by the judge, appear in court and provide statements. The parties to the case may be forced to appear in court in accordance with Article 55, paragraph 1, of the Civil Procedure Act.
A judge may direct the parties to obtain specific data regarding their circumstances or the circumstances of their children. If a party does not obey the court order or cannot do so a judge may himself obtain data that he deems necessary in order for a case to be adjudicated.
A judge may direct the parties to obtain an expert's report if he deems such a report necessary. A judge may on his own initiative add issues subject to evaluation when assessors are appointed. General rules on court appointed assessors otherwise apply to experts' reports.
A judge may decide that the cost of collection of evidence that he orders or of evidence that he collects himself according to this article shall be paid by the State Treasury.
The Rights of the Child to Comment on the Case, Etc.
A child that has reached sufficient maturity shall be given the opportunity to comment on the case unless this can have a detrimental effect for the child or is pointless for the outcome of the case. A judge can entrust an assessor to obtain the view of the child and make a report thereon according to Article 42. If an assessor has not been court appointed a judge may entrust an expert to obtain the view of the child and make a report thereon.
A judge may decide that one or both of the parties may not be present when he obtains the view of the child. A specialist, whom the judge has appointed to obtain the child’s view, has the same authority.
The parties shall be notified of the child’s view. If the parties are not granted access to the report which reveals the child's view, it shall be entered into the record what information they were granted.
If required a judge shall notify a children’s welfare committee of a child’s circumstances. The children’s welfare committee shall handle the case on the basis of the Child Protection Act and use the appropriate resources to support a child when applicable.
Judgment, Anonymity and Publication of Judgment.
A district court judge shall always specify in a judgment whether the appeal of the judgment suspends its legal effect. The judgment of the District Court must be appealed to the Supreme Court within one month. When a district court judge decides that an appeal suspends the legal effect of a judgment a judgment will only become binding in relation to the case in question when the judgment can no longer be appealed, provided that an appeal summons has not been issued at that time. Such a judgment will however be binding as the result of the case if parties renounce their right to appeal in writing. When a judgment is appealed within the time limit for appeal its legal effect is suspended if the judgment so stipulates. Such a judgment is however binding in relation to the case in question if proceedings in the case are ceased before the Supreme Court or it is dismissed from the Supreme Court.
Article 19 applies to the anonymity and publication of judgment.
IMPLEMENTION OF DECISIONS RELATING TO CUSTODY.
Implementation of Decisions Relating to Custody.
In case the person with whom the child stays refuses to hand the child over to its proper custodian, a district court judge may, if requested, decide that custody be enforced by a magistrate’s enforcement proceedings. Chapter 13 of the Act of Legal execution, but Article 43 of this Act shall be observed under these circumstances. No fee shall be paid to the State Treasury in relation to demands according to this article.
In case the person with whom the child stays refuses, in spite of the order of the district court judge, to hand the child over or to provide information the magistrate deems necessary for continuing the enforcement proceedings, the magistrate may, if requested by the petitioner, impose daily penalties to be paid by the respondent on the basis of Article 48. Such daily penalties shall be determined for each day that passes from the time when the judgment is passed until a child is delivered to the petitioner or the requested information is divulged to the magistrate. Such daily penalties shall accrue to the State Treasury. Articles 48 and 49 apply to daily penalties according to this Article.
If enforcement proceedings must be carried out as requested according to Article 1 the magistrate shall request the presence of a representative of the children’s welfare committee and the representative shall guard the interests of the child. The magistrate may request the assistance of the police in the enforcement and the police are obliged to honor such requests by the magistrate. Police officers shall wear civil clothes during the enforcement. The enforcement proceedings shall be conducted with a view to protect the child from undue strain and a magistrate may stop the enforcement proceedings if he considers that there is a special risk that a child suffers if the proceedings continue.
RIGHT OF ACCESS ETC.
Right of Access.
A child has the right of associating regularly with the parent with whom it does not live, providing that this is not contrary to the child’s interests. Upon divorce or cease of cohabitation both parents have the duty to take all possible measures to ensure that this right of the child is observed.
A parent with whom the child does not live has both the right and obligation to maintain association and company with his or her child. That parent shall pay expenses in relation to the right of access unless otherwise stipulated in an agreement, cf. paragraph 3, or a judgment, cf. Article 47, paragraph 1.
Parents may agree among themselves on how the right of access shall be exercised, provided that such arrangement does not go contrary to the interests and needs of the child.
Parents may request that a magistrate certifies an agreement according to paragraph 3. The magistrate may refuse to certify an agreement if it is contrary to the interests and needs of the child.
A Ruling by a Magistrate on the Right of Access.
A magistrate makes a decision on the right of access according to this article in a ruling. A decision shall always be taken bearing the best interests of the child in mind.
In case the parents disagree on the right of access and what it entails the magistrate shall, upon the request of a parent, define what the right of access entails and how it shall be exercised, including which parent shall bear the child’s travel expenses. In exceptional circumstances the magistrate may, at the request of a parent who does not have the child’s custody, define that parent’s right to maintain contact with the child with correspondence, telephone and other similar means.
If one or both parents of a child have died or if a parent is prevented from exercising the duty of associating with a child, the close relatives of that parent may request that a magistrate determine the extent to which they may associate with the child in accordance with paragraph 2.
In exceptional circumstances a magistrate may, following consultation with the children’s welfare committee, stipulate in a ruling that right of access shall take place under supervision or assistance from the children’s welfare committee or a specifically appointed supervisor.
A magistrate may amend or invalidate a decision or an agreement concerning right of access if such a measure is deemed to best serve the interests of the child.
A magistrate may refrain from determining what the right of access shall entail or amending a decision on the right of access if such a measure is deemed to be in the child’s best interest.
In case a magistrate deems that by reason of specific considerations the child’s association with a parent is contrary to the child’s interests and needs he may determine that no association shall take place.
Even if what the right of access entails has been determined in a judgment or a court settlement, cf. Article 34, the magistrate has the same authority to amend this arrangement as if it had been determined by his ruling.
Chapter XI applies to the procedure of cases according to this Article.
Daily Penalties to Implement Access.
Access to a child according to a ruling, judgment, court settlement between the parents or an agreement concluded by them, certified by a magistrate, may be enforced by daily penalties if a parent having the custody prevents the other parent or other persons having right to access to the child from exercising the right of access.
A magistrate may, upon the request of person who has the right of access to a child cf. paragraph 1, order the custodial parent to desist such prevention, subject to daily penalties amounting to up to ISK 30,000, Daily penalties shall not be imposed for a longer period than 100 days at a time. Daily penalties shall not be imposed until the period for appeal according to Article 78 has passed or, if the matter has been appealed to the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs, until the Ministry’s decision concerning right of access has been rendered. If right of access has been determined by a judgment by the district court daily penalties shall not be imposed until the period for appeal has passed or after the judgment of the Supreme Court has been rendered.
A magistrate may, upon request by a person who has the right of access to a child cf. paragraph 1, rule that daily penalties shall not be cancelled until the hindrances have been removed and that association has taken place three times under the supervision of a representative from the Children’s Welfare Committee according to the present arrangement of right to access.
In the investigation of a case a magistrate may request the assistance of the Children’s Welfare Committee or a specially appointed supervisor in relation to the enforcement of the right of access. Under special circumstances the magistrate can defer for six weeks to take a decision on daily penalties. The provisions of Chapter XI apply otherwise to the process in relation to these cases.
Daily penalties shall be determined in a ruling and accrue for each day that passes from the passing of the ruling until the hindrances are removed.
Accrued daily penalties are cancelled when the magistrate deems that access is unhindered.
The claim for payment of daily penalties terminates after one year from the passing of a ruling.
Direct Enforcement Proceedings to Collect Daily Penalties.
Daily penalties may be collected by direct enforcement proceedings in accordance with a petition of the person whose right of access is hindered and shall accrue to the State Treasury. No fee shall be paid to the State Treasury in regard to a petition according to this article.
Right of Access Enforced by Direct Enforcement Proceedings.
If a parent having custody of a child hinders right of access despite a ruling on daily penalties and direct enforcement proceeds for their collection a district court judge may, upon petition by the person who has the right of access to the child, authorize that the right of access be enforced through direct enforcement proceedings. The provisions of Article 45 apply to the process of the case and the implementation of the enforcement.
Intended Move of the Child to a Foreign Country.
If one parent has right of access to a child the other parent may not move from Iceland with the child unless the parent having right of access is verifiably notified of the intended move with at least 30-day prior notice. If parents do not agree at that time on how the right of access shall be exercised the case shall be referred to a magistrate for ruling. The procedure of the case shall be expedited.
The Right to Information Concerning a Child.
A parent not having custody of a child is entitled to information from the other parent on matters concerning the child, including its health and progress, its stay in pre-school, school attendance, interests and social contacts.
A parent not having custody of a child is entitled to information concerning the child from pre-schools, schools, hospitals, health care and social affairs institutions, social affairs committees, children’s welfare committees and police. The right provided for in this paragraph does not include a right to obtain information on matters concerning the parent having custody.
The institutions and authorities mentioned in paragraph 2 can, however, withhold information if it is deemed that the parent’s interest in making use of it must yield to public or private interests of significantly greater weight, including if it is considered that divulging information may harm the child.
A refusal to provide information concerning a child on the basis of paragraph 3 is subject to appeal to the magistrate within two months from when the parent was notified of such a decision. A decision of a magistrate taken in accordance with this paragraph cannot be appealed to the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
Under exceptional circumstances a magistrate can decide at the request of a parent having custody of a child to suspend the other parent’s right to obtain information according to paragraph 2. Article 78 shall apply tot the appeal of a magistrate’s decision to this effect.
THE SUPPORT OF A CHILD.
The Duty of Parents to Support their Child, Etc.
It is the duty of parents, together and individually, to support their child. A child’s support shall be provided with regard to the situation of the parents and the needs of the child.
It is the duty of a stepparent to provide the stepchild with support, as if the child were his or her own if the parent has custody of the child according to Article 29, paragraph 3. The same applies to a cohabiting parent who has the custody of the child according to the same provision.
Child Support upon Determination of the Custody of a Child.
Child support payments shall always be determined upon the separation and divorce of parents as well as in determining custody upon cohabiting parents whose cohabitation has been registered in the national registry ceasing cohabitation. The same applies when parents agree on the amendment of custody in accordance with Article 32.
An agreement concerning support payments for a child is only valid if confirmed by a magistrate or a court settlement reached on the support payments.
Agreements concerning lower child support than corresponding to the amount of child maintenance as determined at any particular time may not be concluded.
A parent’s duty to pay child support may not be limited to a child’s age lower than 18 years. When parents conclude a temporary custody agreement, cf. Article 32, paragraph 4, support payments may however be agreed upon for the same period of time as the determination of custody according to the agreement.
Who Can Demand Support.
A person who bears the expenses in relation to the support of a child can demand that child support payments are determined and collected, provided that the person in question has the custody of the child or the child is residing with him or her according to a legal arrangement.
If child support payments have been made on behalf of the authorities the authorities or institution in question has the right specified in paragraph 1.
Ruling or Judgment to Pay Child Support.
In case a parent fails in the duty of supporting his or her child, a magistrate may order the payment of child support with that child. However, such payments cannot be ordered farther back in time than one year from the time when a claim was submitted, unless extraordinary reasons dictate the contrary.
Support payments shall be determined with regard to the child’s needs and the financial and other circumstances of both parents, including their earning ability.
A child support order may never order the payment of a lower amount than corresponding to child maintenance nor limit the parent’s payment obligation to a lower age than 18 years.
When parents conclude a temporary custody agreement, cf. Article 32, paragraph 4, support payments may however be agreed upon for the same period of time as the determination of custody according to the agreement.
The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs issued guidelines on amounts in relation to demands for child support payments in excess to the minimum child support payments in accordance with paragraph 3.
When a judge resolves a dispute regarding the paternity or custody of a child he or she shall also, upon request, resolve a dispute on support payments in his judgment according to the provision of this Article.
Special Provisions on Child Support Payments.
If the father of a child has been convicted of an offence against its mother as described in Chapter XXII of the Penal Code and the child is deemed to have been conceived by this act, the father may be ordered to pay all costs of the child’s support.
Orders for Child Support Payments from the State Social Security Institute.
If case support payments have been claimed for a child, and the conclusion of the matter can be foreseen to be delayed as the parent against whom the claim is directed resides abroad or contact with the parent is particularly difficult, a magistrate may issue a provisional order to the effect that the State Social Security Institute pay support for the child. The amount of provisional child support may not exceed child support and not be ordered farther back in time than the claim against the parent. Such payments will however never be ordered farther back in time than one year provided that the child has resided in Iceland for that period. Provisional child support paid by the State Social Security Institute according to this paragraph will be collected from the parent liable to pay child support in accordance with the magistrate’s support order directed against the parent but is not otherwise refundable.
In case a parent residing abroad has been ordered by a foreign decision to pay to a parent residing in Iceland child support with that child which is lower than child support a magistrate can order the State Social Security Institute to pay to the parent with whom the child resides child support that equals the difference between the ordered child support and child support. If the foreign child support order has determined that a parent residing abroad shall not pay child support with a child the magistrate may order the State Social Security Institute to pay child support to the parent with whom the child resides.
Orders by Reason for Special Disbursement.
A party liable for child support may be ordered to pay special contributions owing to a child’s baptism, confirmation, purchase of glasses, orthodontia, sickness, burial or for other extraordinary reasons.
Contributions in accordance with paragraph 1 here above shall only be ordered if a claim to that effect has been submitted to the magistrate within three months from the time when the disbursements had to be made, unless there was a valid reason to delay the presentation of such claim.
The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs issues guidelines on amounts due to claims for special disbursements according to this article.
The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs shall issue guidelines on demonstrative figures regarding special contributions according to this Article.
Termination of the Duty to Provide Support.
The duty to provide support shall cease when a child reaches the age of 18 years.
The duty to pay child support ceases when a child marries unless a magistrate decides otherwise.
Contribution to Education or Vocational Training.
Despite the provisions of Article 61 a parent can be ordered to pay a contribution to the education or vocational training, upon its request, from the age of 18 until the age of 20 years has been reached. The provisions of Article 57, paragraph 1, subparagraph 2, apply in this respect.
A magistrate can amend an order according to paragraph 1 if a substantiated requested is submitted to that effect provided that it is proven that the circumstances of the parent or the child have changed.
Payment of Child Support.
Child support shall be paid monthly in advance unless another arrangement is lawfully determined.
Support payments according to this Chapter belong to the child and shall be used to the benefit for the child. However, a person who may petition for child support payments in accordance with Article 56 collects child support and receives child support payments in his or her own name.
Amendment to a Child Support Agreement or Court Settlement.
In an order a magistrate may change a certified child support agreement or a court settlement, cf. Article 55, if a reasoned request to that effect is presented and
- circumstances have changed considerably.
- the agreement or court settlement is contrary to the child’s needs, or
- the agreement or court settlement is not in accordance with the parents’ financial position.
An order to pay child support payments that have become due at the time the request is submitted shall, however, not be changed, unless this is dictated by extraordinary reasons.
Amendment to a Child Support Order or Judgment.
A magistrate can change an authority’s order and decision for the payment of child support and a decision for the payment of child support that has been made in a court judgment if a reasoned request to that effect is presented and it is demonstrated that the situation of the parents or the child have changed.
The provisions of Article 64, paragraph 2, apply as applicable to the authority’s order for the payment of child support.
PAYMENT AND COLLECTION OF SUPPORT.
Child support payments, ordered by a judgment, court settlement or order, may be collected by direct enforcement proceedings. The same applies to payments ordered by a magistrate according to Chapters IV and IX.
Payments according to paragraph 1, to which an agreement certified by a magistrate applies, may also be collected by direct enforcement proceedings.
Payment Obligations by the State Social Security Institute.
The State Social Security Institute is obliged to pay a person entitled, in accordance to a judgment, court settlement, magistrate’s order or an agreement certified by a magistrate, to payments according to Chapters IV and IX and residing in Iceland, however subject to the limit stipulated by the Social Security Act.
RESOLUTION OF ISSUES UNDER THIS ACT BY ADFMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE.
Jurisdiction of Icelandic Administrative Authorities.
Administrative authorities shall be competent to resolve issues involving foreign countries under the following connections:
- If the child to whom the matter relates resides in Iceland.
- If the party against whom a request is directed resides in Iceland.
The provisions of international agreements to which Iceland is a party shall take precedence over the provisions of paragraph 1 above.
Administrative Area of Resolution.
The decision in a matter in dispute that is subject to a magistrate’s resolution shall be rendered in the administrative area where the child resides. If the child moves between administrative areas of resolution the magistrate who has the matter for decision decides whether he closes the case or transfer the case to a magistrate in the administrative area of resolution where the child moves.
If the child is not residing in Iceland the decision shall be rendered in the administrative area where the person against whom the request is made is directed resides.
If cases are simultaneously in progress which are of the same nature and relate to siblings who do not reside within the same administrative area of resolution, the cases shall be joined and resolved in the administrative area where a decision is to be rendered concerning the request first submitted.
The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs shall decide in which administrative are a matter shall be resolved if neither the child nor the person against whom the request is directed reside in Iceland, or if it is for other reasons not clear where a matter shall be resolved according to the foregoing provisions.
The Requests of the Parties and Collection of Evidence.
The parties shall present a clear formulation of their requests to the magistrate. If a petition has been submitted the counter party shall be summoned when the case is discussed before the magistrate or he or she afforded the opportunity of stating his or her views on the case in writing, cf. Article 71, paragraphs 2 and 3.
In case a respondent fails repeatedly to heed the summons of the magistrate to be present when the case is discussed or submit a report in writing stating his or her views to the case the magistrate shall send him the documents of the case in an easily verifiable manner and afford him a definite period for stating his views in writing or an opportunity to appear before the magistrate at a specific time. The letter shall state the penalties if the summons or recommendations of the magistrate are not heeded.
If the counter party has legal residence or known address in another country the laws of that country apply to the service of notification. A received registered letter or service of notification by a summons server is however always deemed to be sufficient service. The same applies if the counter party signs a notice from the magistrate that he has received a copy:
A magistrate may publish a notification on the process of a case if:
- information cannot be obtained on the counter party’s address,
- foreign authorities refuse or do not publish a notice of the process of a case,
- a service is not successful according to the state where the service of the notice was attempted or
- the receipt of a registered letter has been refused at the counter party’s address.
A notice published in the Official Gazette shall mention the name, personal identification and the last known address of the party, if possible, the subject of the request and reference to the legal arguments on which it is based, an request to party to attend when the case it discussed at a certain place and time, and lastly the consequences of not obeying the notice of the magistrate. A notice shall be published in the Official Gazette at least 30 days prior to the process of the case.
In case a date for new proceedings are set at the time of proceedings no further notifications are made on that decision to a party who is present at the time of notification.
The provisions of the administrative act apply to the process of a case unless otherwise stipulated in this Act.
A magistrate decides whether he summons the parties, together or separately, for discussions on the case or whether he affords them the possibility to state their views on the case in writing, according to the nature and the scope of the case, as well as the needs of the parties. However, the magistrate shall always honor a parties’ request to orally discuss their case.
A magistrate can determine that the process of the case with regard to the counter party take place in the administrative area of resolution of the magistrate where the counter party lives.
Article 43 applies mutatis mutandis regarding the right of children to state their views in disputes regarding the right of access.
Investigation of a Case.
The parties to the case must collect the evidence that the magistrate deems necessary to render a decision. Furthermore, the magistrate can collect evidence at his own initiative if necessary, cf. Article 10 of the Administrative act.
If the petitioner does not heed the summons or recommendation of a magistrate concerning evidence to be submitted, cf. Article 70, paragraph 1 and 2, the magistrate may decline to resolve the matter. The decision of the magistrate to deny resolution in the matter shall be in writing and a copy thereof sent to the counter party if he or she has been notified of the petitioner’s request.
If a counter party does not heed the summons or recommendation of the magistrate for collection of evidence, cf. Article 70, the magistrate may demand a copy of his tax return, criminal record certificate or police report be delivered by the administrative authority in question.
The magistrate shall attempt to conciliate the parties before rendering a decision on a matter in dispute, except if such attempts will obviously be fruitless or a party fails repeatedly to heed the magistrate’s summons. If the parties reside or stay in different administrative areas, conciliation may be attempted where each of them resides or stays.
If specialized counseling has been provided in accordance with Article 33 a conciliation attempt by the magistrate according to paragraph 1 shall not be necessary.
Seeking Report Etc.
A magistrate can ask for a report of a children’s welfare committee when it is deemed necessary and ask for its assistance in the process of the case. If deemed necessary the magistrate shall notify the children’s welfare committee of a child’s circumstances. The children’s welfare committee must take the case up on the basis of the Child Protection Act and use the appropriate remedies to support a child when applicable.
The Parties’ Access to Documents and Evidence.
The provisions of Articles 15–19 of the Administrative Act apply to the right of the parties to make themselves familiar with documents and other evidence concerning the case.
The magistrate may restrict the access of the parties to evidence providing information on the views of a child, if that is deemed to be possibly harmful to the child or the relationship between a child and a parent.
If documents are in their entirety restricted from access the magistrate shall however notify him or her of their conclusion if it is possible that a decision of the case will be based on them.
Form and Content of a Decision.
The decision of the magistrate shall always be in writing and signed in two identical originals, one for each party. A copy of the decision shall be kept by the magistrate.
The decision shall state the following:
- The name and personal identification numbers of the parties;
- The name and personal identification of the child or children to whom the case applies;
- The requests of the parties;
- Principal arguments and legal grounds stated by each party;
- A brief and clear description of the facts of the case;
- Argumentation for the conclusion of the case, cf. Article 22 of the Administrative Act.
- A main conclusion that shall be contracted at the end of the decision in a specific ruling;
- The official title of the magistrate who renders the decision in the case and the date of the decision.
The decision shall state appeal measures, time limit to appeal and where an administrative appeal shall be submitted.
The ruling shall state enforcement measure, if applicable, as well as whether an appeal to the Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs suspends the legal effects of the decision.
Notification of Decision.
The decision of the magistrate shall be served on the parties by one process server, sent to them by registered mail or otherwise notified in a manner providing proof of the notification.
The Parties may appeal the decision of a magistrate to the Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs within two months as from its date. The appeal procedure shall be according to the Administrative Act and the provisions of this Act, as applicable.
In a decision a magistrate may order that an appeal shall suspend its effect.
REGULATION, ENTRY INTO FORCE, APPLICABLE LAW, ETC.
The Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs may issue a Regulation stipulating the process and procedure, as well as on particular aspects concerning the implementation of this Act.1)
1) Regulation no. 231/1992
ENTRY INTO FORCE.
This Act enters into force on November 1, 2003.
The provisions of this Act shall apply to court cases according to Chapters II, III and VI of the Act that were instigated after November 1, 2003.
The procedures and decisions in court cases that were instigated prior to November 1 2003 but have not been concluded at that time shall be determined in accordance with the Act in Respect of Children no. 20/1992, as amended. The same applies if a decision or judgment in such a case is appealed to the Supreme Court.
The provisions of this Act shall apply to administrative cases that are dealt with by authorities after the Act has entered into force.
The procedures and decisions in administrative cases that have been brought before magistrates prior to November 1 2003 but have not been concluded at that time shall be determined in accordance with the Act in Respect of Children no. 20/1992, as amended. The same applies if an order in such a case is appealed to the Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
The provisions of this Act shall apply to the reopening of cases even though they have been concluded prior to the entry into force of the Act. The same applies to the reopening of administrative cases.
The provisions of Article 2, paragraph 1, second sentence and Article 23 shall not be applied with regard to children born prior to July 1, 1992.
The material provisions of this Act apply only to incidents occurring after the entry into force of the Act.
Amendments to Other Laws.
Source: Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs, http://eng.domsmalaraduneyti.is/laws-and-regulations/nr/916.