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Parents who divorce to get joint custody

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10:32 CEST+02:00
Parents who divorce in Switzerland will in future automatically be granted joint custody of children, the country's parliament has decided. The law will also be applied retroactively to parents who currently have a different arrangement.

A large majority of lawmakers in the National Council voted on Wednesday to give both parents duties and rights to make decisions about their children when they divorce or separate. 151 council members voted in favor of changing the law, while 13 vote against and 9 abstained.

Automatic joint custody means that divorced or separated parents will share custody of their children without the need for a prior agreement or the approval of a judge.

“Parental responsibility is the duty of both parents. It’s a duty as much as a right. Parents are still parents if they separate, divorce or are not married," said Justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga in Parliament.

The new join custody law will be also applied retroactively, so fathers or mothers who currently don't have parental custody could ask for it.

The bill will now move on to Switzerland's upper house, the Council of States, where it is expected to pass easily.

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