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    Family Code: questions and answers

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    Código de las Familias: preguntas y respuestas

    When the second week of the popular consultation of the Family Code Project is almost over, it is evident that doubts persist about the scope and novelties of the norm. Likewise, the avalanche of uninformed and/or malicious publications on Internet social networks has intensified, which, on many occasions, do not express a critical stance towards a certain article or concept ─ something that would be totally natural ─ , but rather a manifest desire to misrepresent the lyrics of the new Code. We put for your consideration some questions that could arise in the heat of the popular consultation.

    1. With the new Family Code, can children and adolescents be separated from their parents?

    -No. Girls, boys and adolescents cannot be separated from their mothers, fathers and family, unless the competent authorities determine it in special circumstances, in accordance with the law and established procedures, and at all times in accordance with their best interests and the principles of necessity, exceptionality and temporality.

    2. What are the competent authorities and special circumstances?

    —The Courts could determine to separate a minor from his parents and family, as a measure of last resort that must be reviewed periodically. Special circumstances are considered to be those in which serious non-compliance or the impossible exercise of parental responsibility is verified.

    3. What rights does the Code recognize for children and adolescents?

    a) Be heard according to their capacity and progressive autonomy and that their opinion be taken into account;

    b) Participate in making family decisions that concern their interests;

    c) Live as a family and enjoy family and community life;

    d) Parental co-responsibility;

    e) Receive accompaniment and guidance in accordance with the evolution of their faculties for the exercise of their own rights;

    f) Free development of the personality;

    g) Grow up in an environment free of violence and to be protected against all types of discrimination, prejudice, abuse, negligence or exploitation;

    h) Physical integrity;

    i) To care for their health, education, food, upbringing and general well-being;

    j) To rest, play, recreation and recreational activities appropriate to their age;

    k) To identity;

    l) To the information that contributes to their well-being and integral development;

    m) Family communication;

    n) Honor, privacy and self-image;

    o) To a digital environment free of discrimination and violence.

    4. What to understand by Best Interest of the minor?

    —In a nutshell: put what is best for the child or adolescent ahead of any decision. For this, it is essential to take into account their opinion and physical, educational and emotional needs; and prioritize their care, protection and safety. (Article 7. Title I)

    5. How many types of parentage does the Family Code Project recognize?

    -Four. Children can be by natural procreation, by adoption, by assisted reproduction and by judicially recognized socio-affective ties. For all cases, the Law determines equal rights in terms of parental responsibility, surnames, legal obligation to provide food, succession rights (inheritance). (Articles 50 and 51. Title IV)

    6. Can you legally have more than one father and one mother?

    -Yes. The Draft Code exceptionally recognizes that a person may have more than two filiation ties, when the original cause is proven (assisted reproduction with a known donor or supportive womb) or supervening (for cases of socio-affective filiation). (Articles 56 and 57. Title IV)

    7. Does the new rule allow the adoption of minors?

    -Yes. Adoption is a form of family integration that aims to guarantee the right of children and adolescents to live in a family and ensure their well-being and comprehensive development. Adopted minors have the right to know their biological identity and origin, as well as to access the adoption file, once they have full legal capacity. The adoption is indivisible and irrevocable, once it is judicially authorized.

    —Only persons under eighteen (18) years of age whose parents are not known or who are in any of the following cases can be adopted:

    a) Deceased parents or judicial declaration of presumption of death;

    b) Parents deprived by the Law of exercising parental responsibility; or

    c) Parents who expressly express their will for the purposes of said adoption. (Articles 87-96. Title IV. Chapter III. First Section)

    8. Who can adopt?

    —People over 25 years of age can adopt, in conditions of being able to solve the economic needs of the minor. It is not mandatory to be married or in a de facto affective union. Behavior that allows presumed compliance with parental responsibility must be demonstrated. (Article 98. Title IV. Chapter III. Second Section)

    9. Who cannot adopt?

    —Relatives located in a straight line cannot adopt; people who have been punished as authors or accomplices for crimes related to gender, sexual or family violence; people who have ever been deprived of parental responsibility for their own children; one of the spouses or domestic partner without the express consent of the other; the tutor or the tutor until he legally ceases in his position. (Article 100. Title IV. Chapter III. First Section)

    10. Why is it called Parental Responsibility and not Parental Authority? What are the changes?

    —The concept of Patria Potestad no longer adjusts to the Cuban or international reality. The Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 signed and ratified by Cuba since 1990, “recognizes that children and adolescents are subjects of law, this means that they are not objects or property of their mothers and fathers. They are human beings in formation and development, and in order for them to be emotionally strong, stable and useful people for society, they need to be educated with a lot of love and respect”. (Yamila González Ferrer, Vice President of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba)

    —Parental Responsibility includes the set of faculties, duties and rights that correspond to mothers and fathers for the fulfillment of their function of assistance, education and care of their minor daughters and sons, which affect their personal and patrimonial sphere and that they are always exercised for the benefit of their best interests and in accordance with their capacity, progressive autonomy, the free development of their personality and their degree of maturity. (Article 132. Title V. Chapter I. First Section)