Custody | Duty Of Care – Will It Be Easier For Fathers?

Through the published draft law, the federal government will make it easier for fathers to take care of their children born out of wedlock. At the same time, care also means responsibility.

Society is changing, and with it the family. Once understood by lawmakers as the basic building block of society and characterized by the institution of marriage, the number of unmarried parents has steadily increased in recent decades: While in 1995 it was still 15 percent, according to the latest surveys in Germany every third child is born to unmarried parents. The divorce rate of over 50 percent since the beginning of the millennium has done the rest to make the classic family model an idealized relic.

With the new law it will be easier and less bureaucratic for fathers to get custody of a common child, which still automatically goes to the mother. While it was previously a much greater difficulty to grant custody also to the father against the will of the mother, this will be easier to enforce in the future. German legislation will thus undergo a long overdue adjustment to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the Federal Constitutional Court, which until now have been the last port of call for unmarried fathers who wanted to take care of their children against the will of the mother.

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A step in the right direction was thus taken to enable family relationships between children and both parents, regardless of the marriage certificate. Why the custody does not automatically go to the father like the maintenance obligation to the father is thereby astonishing and lets conclusions on an old-fashioned conception of the mother as educator and the father as hunter and collector. In the battle of the sexes, which is unfortunately all too often fought out on the backs of the children, however, a serious imbalance has been reduced. When fathers want to take responsibility for their children, this is less the exercise of a right than of a moral duty. It is to be hoped that more fathers will take advantage of this opportunity, because ultimately it is the children who are at stake.

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