Czech lower house passes amended family law (Czech Republic)

June 23, 2011

Prague, June 21 (CTK) – Shared care of children should be more frequent after the parents’ divorce under an amendment to the family law that the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, passed Tuesday.

According to the legislation, courts should always order shared care if both parents want to look after the child and are capable of it and if it is in the child’s interest.

The amendment also modifies the deadline for paternity denial, on the basis of the Constitutional Court’s verdict.

The amendment was supported by deputies across the parties.

Its opponents point out that children in shared care must change their home constantly which is not positive for their healthy development.

Government human rights commissioner Monika Simunkova Tuesday also criticised the amendment. Every case needs an individual approach, she said.

The centre-right government also raised objections to the bill, pointing out that the court should take the child’s wish into consideration before deciding on shared care.

Without meeting this condition, the Czech Republic may violate the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, the government says.

The amendment’s author Pavel Stanek (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS), for his part, stressed that Czech courts usually place children in the custody of their mother without justifying the decision.

About 90 percent of children end up in the mother’s care after divorce in the Czech Republic, while shared care is applied in about 3 percent of cases only, he recalled.

The amendment also changes the deadline for paternity denial from the current six months after the baby’s birth to six months since the man starts suspecting that he is not the biological father, but maximally until the child’s three years of age.

This regulation should apply only to children born in wedlock.

Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.

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