Behaviour with children

Under the Belgian Civil Code parents jointly exercise authority over the child. The rules on parental authority are regulated under Article 373 and 374 of the Civil Code.

The child remains under the authority of their parents until they:

  • Reach the age of majority (18 years of age in Belgium).
  • Get emancipated by the court. Emancipation is a legal way for children to become adults before they are 18 years of age.

Parental authority includes the right to:

  • Organise the child’s living arrangements.
  • Take important decisions in relation to the child’s health, upbringing, education, leisure activities and the children’s religious and philosophical choices.


The rights of children in Belgium are protected by law. Any complaint can be filed to the Children’s Rights Commissioner whom is available to young people under 18 and those defending their interests, via ¬†

From comes the information that, in Belgium, education is compulsory. This means that parents have to make sure their children receive education. The federal government determines the duration of compulsory education for the whole of Belgium.

A child becomes subject to compulsory education on 1 September of the calender year in which they become 6 years old.

Compulsory education lasts for a maximum of twelve entire school years.

Compulsory education ends:

  • on the 18th birthday, for pupils becoming 18 years on or before 30 June,
  • on 30 June, for pupils becoming 18 years after that date. These pupils do not have to start a new school year.
  • or as soon as a pupil obtains the diploma of secondary education, even if they are only 16 at that time for example.

General sources

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