Czech SP developments

Posted on November 24, 2013 by

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Czech SP developments.

‘Shared care’ of children, often referred to as shared parenting, should be on the increase in the Czech Republic (CR), after a 2011 change in the law.

In June of that year the Lower House of the Czech parliament (the Chamber of Deputies) amended the family law for divorcing couples with children.

As we have so often seen before in other countries, the argument used in the CR by opponents to shared parenting was that children in shared care would have to change their home constantly which they claim was not a healthy development. The literature world wide shows this fear to be untrue and false.

The amendment’s author, Pavel Stanek of the governing Civic Democrats (ODS party), stressed that Czech courts usually place children in the custody of their mother without justifying the decision [a feature all too familiar with the rest of Europe – RW].

In the Czech Republic about 90% children are allocated to the mother’s care after divorce, which is a percentage common to most of Europe.

Pavel Stanek stressed how Czech courts granted shared care in only 3% of cases (though the implication is that the level of demand for shared care in the country is thought to be higher).

Again and not wholly surprising the Czech government human rights commissioner at the time, the rather glamorous Monika Simunkova, criticised the amendment. Every case, she said, needs an individual approach; this is he argument rejected in the UK as being too great an obstacle for reforming divorce in 1969 and yet insisted upon in custody matters since that date.

Czech_monikaThe result is a UK divorce regime that is too fast and anonymous and a custody regime that is unfair and impossible to overcome.

Left: Monika Simunkova – seen here as a blonde but she is equally attractive as a brunette or red head.

One version of events is that she has now been dismissed from her position as director of the Human Rights Section at the Office for the Czech Republic (Romea.cz [1]),  while another insists she has resigned and that she still retains her role as the Commissioner for Human Rights within the Czech Government.

The Czech Republic, which has proportional representation voting system, consists of two parliamentary chambers, both elected in direct elections:

  • the Lower House: Chamber of Deputies, made up of 200 Deputies.
  • the Upper House: Senate, made up of 81 Senators.

The Lower House, of the Czech parliament currently has a centre-right government and it too raised objections to the bill, pointing out that the court should take the child’s wish into consideration before deciding on shared care.

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, it was said, the Czech Republic may be violating the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the child and European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights.

However, this is to overlook that in the ‘small print’ of both documents is the ‘get out of jail’ clauses allowing nation signatories to amend their treaty compliance to fit in with local customs and laws.

By-products of the June 2011 legal changes also saw the deadline for the denial of paternity alter following a ruling of the Constitutional Court. Originally it was 6 months after the baby’s birth but now it is set at 6 months from the time the man begins suspecting that he is not the biological father (this window of possible denial lasts for only 3 years).

This last amendment was supported by deputies across the parties and the regulation change is thought to apply only to children born inside wedlock.

END

Footnotes:

[1] News server Romea.cz has been informed that as of today, Monika Šimůnková has been removed from her position as director of the Human Rights Section at the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. She is still retaining her role as the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner. http://www.romea.cz/en/news/czech/czech-gov-t-human-rights-commissioner-removed-as-director-of-human-rights-section  Prague, 16.Oct.2013

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