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Greece: Bill on joint custody of children becomes law after eventful voting process

A draft bill awarding joint custody of children to divorced parents was voted in Parliament plenary on Thursday by ruling New Democracy, while all other parties opposed it either by vote or by walking out during a roll-call vote for two articles.

The two controversial articles – on joint and equal custody (7) and on time allotted for the child to communicate with the parent not living with it (13) – were approved solely by New Democracy votes. Two party MPs, who had expressed specific objections early on and called for improvements, voted against it.

Main opposition SYRIZA requested a roll-call vote for articles 7 and 13 but walked out before the vote because it disagreed with the health measures followed in plenary sessions and voting. Movement for Change (KINAL) party walked out because it protested the adoption of a roll-call vote by a party that is not there to vote. In addition, the Communist Party of Greece also walked out, expressing its disapproval of the two articles and “the fiasco” with the roll-call vote.

Among concerns raised by MPs over articles 7 and 13 were that the child’s interests were not taken into account, that sharing custody equally between parents did not recognize the parent who shouldered the burden of raising the child, and that custody should be awarded by special family courts.

Source: ANA-MPA