In its Resolution 1921 (2013) on "Gender equality, reconciliation of private and working life and co-responsibility", the Parliamentary Assembly called on the public authorities of Council of Europe member States to respect the right of fathers to enjoy shared responsibility by ensuring that family law foresees, in case of separation or divorce, the possibility of joint custody of children, in their best interest, based on mutual agreement, while pointing out that it should never be imposed.
European legislations are moving towards greater balance between the father and mother in the exercise of parental responsibility. However, in practice, the exercise of parental responsibility is most commonly granted to the mother, to the detriment of the father’s rights, particularly in cases of divorce and separation and especially when children are born out of wedlock or to couples of different nationalities.
Recognising that fathers have rights and responsibilities in respect of their children, in the same way as mothers, is both a major challenge and a necessary step in order to progress towards a fully egalitarian society.
The Assembly should examine in-depth the situation in Council of Europe member countries and propose measures to promote equality between men and women in the exercise of shared parental responsibility, including in cases of separation and divorce.