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Parents to share child custody in Switzerland

Meritxell Mir · 18 Nov 2011, 11:24

Published: 18 Nov 2011 11:38 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2011 11:24 GMT+01:00

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The Swiss government has decided separated parents should automatically have joint custody of their children except in cases involving the specific protection of the child.

When a couple splits or gets divorced, custody of their children will be shared without the need for a prior agreement or the approval of a judge.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said on Thursday that the Federal Council considered the move obvious, since a child has the right to build an autonomous relationship wityh both father and mother.

All political parties, as well as fathers’ and men’s associations, welcomed Sommaruga’s proposal, which is widely expected top pass into law when voted on in parliament in the coming weeks.

But while joint custody is set to become the norm, a judge will still have to sign off on the suitability of both parents to take responsibility for their children. A parent may be denied custody for reasons including infirmity, a history of violence or absence.

Currently, when a couple divorces, one parent generally gets sole custody. If the couple is not married, the mother is the legal custodian. For now, joint custody is only possible if both parties sign an agreement on how they plan to distribute and share alimony and childcare.

Story continues below…

The draft proposal also regulates the question of residency. If a parent wishes to move, either alone or with the child, he or she will need the consent of the other party. If there is no agreement, a judge will have to intervene to protect the well-being of the child.

Every year, about 14,000 children in Swizerland are confronted with their parents’ divorce or separation.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2011-12-01 15:17:52 by Honey1
To; Mississauga Dad, not all woman are so malicious and not all dad are made bad single parents, this is all media hype that is ignored by intelligent people but there should be a balance between what is best for the child in relation to the situation. Maybe it needs children from divorced families and both parents to pen their side of the story that way any decision made can be based on solid facts rather than the mud slinging that goes on.
2011-12-01 15:09:26 by Honey1
I think it should be based on a number of factors. Agreed that mothers should not automatically be given custody but to automatically inforce shared custody is not right either. Most cases of divorce are not so clear cut. For example I have custody as my ex was quite happy to give it up without a fight (95% chance I would have gain 100% control of my child if he fought against me) as he left his family for another woman who he now lives even though we are still legal married, he was also verbally and mentally abusive. Missed weekends while he swans around with his new GF. But as a reasonable parent I have decided to share parental responsibilty so he still can make decisions. But the questions is, in my case should shared custody apply, I think not. Child custody should never be an open and closed case and it is about time the courts and parents consider the children and their feelings first. Divorce is sad and frightening for a child and I am not convinced shared custody is the best way forward,
2011-11-24 09:08:16 by InfoSeeker
A friend of mine is currently going through a child custody battle, so I’ve been following news about the subject for the past year. Joint custody can work very well if both parents are prepared for the responsibility of loving and raising the children amicably. However, if joint custody is granted and one parent turns out to be neglectful, then how easy is it to award the other parent full custody? My friend lives in Thailand and was attempting to get full custody of her children from a Thai citizen. Child custody in Thailand requires the father to have legal paternity of the child. My friend’s ex-husband has legal paternity, but he is neither a good man nor a good father. Joint custody would be a disastrous compromise in this situation. How will the Swiss government deal with problems like this one where one parent turns out to be unfit?
2012-10-15 17:19:07 by t1212
to the above poster you have a great point, unfortunately using the term " socialist feminazi" seriously taints what is important about what you are saying. plenty of women, feminist or not, and i am one, would agree with your suggestions if you didn't needlessly sling mud around to make your point. i hope you will reconsider your approach. these issues are important!
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