Introduce the Joint Physical Custody Presumption in Europe

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Women and men, mothers and fathers are made to complement each other, and more importantly, children need both parents. Millions European citizens, be they grandmothers or grandfathers, mothers or fathers, aunts or uncles, have suffered the loss of children they love and care deeply about, as a result of misguided laws and obsolete family court practices in many European countries.

The lack of legislation to support and encourage the Shared Parenting (called also joint physical custody or joint custody with alternating residence) is an issue which knows no bounds. It affects families from all countries, regardless how poor or how wealthy they are. It affects annually millions of children in Europe, regardless their race, ethnicity or gender. The issue transcends all demographics and is widespread across Europe.

Experience from “advanced” countries like Sweden, Denmark or Belgium shows that children benefit most from the active involvement of both parents regardless of their marital status. The government policies and laws must be structured in such a way as to maximize the opportunity of all parents to contribute to the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual development of their children. 

Across Europe, a growing number of children are being raised without the benefit of meaningful engagement with both parents and of their extended families. As contemporary research conclusively demonstrates, a child who effectively loses one of his or her parents through a custody decision is a child at risk for a number of negative personal and social outcomes. There is also a growing medical evidence that such “legal decisions” have long term negative impact on the health of the involved children.

Research also proves that, although children want a relationship with both their parents regardless of marital status, healthy bonding with a non-residential parent is impossible without a substantial amount of time spent in that parent’ s physical presence. 

In the context of the European Commission initiative to upgrade the Brussels II Legislation, Colibri (The European Platform for Joint Custody Co-Parenting & Childhood) asks for changes in the Family Law to be implemented across Europe. Such changes should ensure that regardless of the place where they live and what is their nationality, children of Europe will have the opportunity to remain fully engaged with both their parents into adulthood. 

The people endorsing this statement know that not all children can have full access to both parents, and we know that not all parents are fit to raise their children. But we also know that far too many good, willing and fit parents are removed from their children’s lives by unfriendly family courts, obsolete policies and laws that undermine family integrity and autonomy. 

Parental separation should not spell the end of a relationship between a child and one of its parents. Forced separation from one’s own flesh and blood in the absence of abuse is morally wrong and socially irresponsible. That is why we support equally shared parenting concept (joint physical custody) as the default arrangement for separating parents of minor children." 

We invite European citizens, regardless their gender, to sign this petition.

Go to www.childefenders.com to read more about Colibri’s position on this matter.

Catalin Bogdan, VP (on behalf of Colibri Federation)

 



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