Family life

(Familjelivets villkor)

This section is about the regulations that apply to marriage and cohabitation. It also discusses parenthood, along with the rights, care and education of children. This is where you can find information about nursery, compulsory and upper secondary schools, as well as how to be involved in your children’s care and education.

The most important information to keep in mind

(Innehåll i korthet)

  • Swedish families are subject to specific laws. Among the regulations are those that deal with marriage, cohabitation and the relationship between parents and children.
  • Sweden has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the Convention, all children have equal rights, are entitled to equal protection and may not be discriminated against.
  • Joint custody means that both parents share responsibility for a child and decisions about the child’s life. Sole custody means that only one parent has legal responsibility for the child.
  • All children are entitled to personal, regular contact with both parents. That is referred to as visiting rights.
  • Parents who have separated share responsibility to support their children financially. If a child lives with only one parent, the other parent must pay child support.
  • Domestic violence refers to offences committed by a partner, parent, sibling or other relative. The violence may be physical, psychological, sexual or some other kind.
  • It is important for a victim of a crime to notify the police.
  • Corporal punishment has been against the law in Sweden since 1979. In other words, it is illegal to physically punish a child for disciplinary purposes.
  • When the social services find out that a child may be having problems at home, they launch an investigation of the child’s and family’s situation to determine what assistance is needed.
  • Various kinds of support and help are available for adults and children who are the victims of threats or violence.
  • If you are working or studying, your 1-5 year-old children are eligible for nursery school or a family day nursery.
  • Both nursery schools and family day nurseries cooperate with parents. Progress reviews and parent-teacher meetings provide you with the opportunity to discuss how your children are doing in school.
  • All children must attend nine-year compulsory school starting at age 7.
  • If you are working or studying, your 6-12 year-old children are eligible for an after-school recreation centre.
  • Young people who complete compulsory school are eligible for three-year upper secondary school.
  • Schools for students with learning disabilities offer specially adapted instruction.
  • Native language instruction is available to children and young people who speak a language other than Swedish at home. It is important for children to learn their native language so that they can develop and learn in Swedish more easily as well.
  • Schools invite you to attend progress reviews and parent-teacher meetings so that you can be involved in your children’s education.


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