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Sole custody after separation perpetuates an outdated gender role model

At a hearing on 'equality and shared parental responsibility: the rights of fathers', participants stressed the importance of ensuring parental equality both in law and in practice. The rapporteur of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination Françoise Hetto-Gaasch (Luxembourg, EPP/CD) also would like to see mediation expanded as a means of easing tension between parents, in the best interest of children, who all too often become a pawn in the dealings between their parents. "Mediation allows couples to focus on their relationship as parents after their conjugal relationship has come to an end", she added.

For one of the experts, Hildegund Sünderhauf-Kravets from the Protestant University of Nuremberg, "the model of Sole Custody after separation/divorce is based on an outdated family idéal and far away from equal parental responsibility. Shared parenting means that childred spend almost equal time with both parents, who at the same time share legal, educational and practical responsibility."

Particpants agreed that "shared parenting is not for everyone, but for the vast majority of separated parents and their children Shared Parenting is the better alternative than the common parenting model with one resident parent and one parent becoming a visitor."