Justice ministry bill on family law faces backlash from ruling party MPs

Justice ministry bill on family law faces backlash from ruling party MPs

Two lawmakers from the ruling Conservatives distanced themselves from a bill on parent-child relations and other family law issues, including provisions for joint custody, saying it favors parents to the detriment of the child’s wellbeing.

Marietta Giannakou and Olga Kefalogianni submitted joint proposals for amendments arguing, among others, that it is not realistic for daily child care to be exercised equally by both parents after the divorce.

“I cannot vote for the bill unless the word ‘equally’ is deleted from the provision stipulating that parental responsibility is exercised ‘jointly and equally,’” she said during a debate in Parliament, addressing Justice Minister Kostas Tsiaras.

“It is good to ask the scientific community and use common sense. Children need both parents, but there must be no horizontal and rigid solutions. Everyday life must be managed by whoever has custody,” she added. 

The two lawmakers also expressed concern about a provision that would allow perpetrators of domestic violence or sexual offences to retain access or child custody until they are convicted by a first instance court. 

Kefalogianni said this risks exposing children to an abusive parent for years.

They also object to the rigid allocation of time for living with the parent who does not have custody, arguing the right is already protected by law. Kefalogianni said that the bill appears to have been written with one parents in mind – the one who does not get custody.

“The bill divides, instead of uniting. Instead of solving problems, it creates them,” she told the House, adding that “the responsibility lies with the justice minister.”

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