by Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch
A government proposal to introduce joint parental responsibility for divorced couples has been widely welcomed.
However, the controversial issue of child support payments has been excluded and will be dealt with next year. It is now up to parliament to discuss the necessary legal amendments as part of an overhaul of the civil code.
“A first important step has been taken,” said Kathie Wiederkehr of the Foundation for the Protection of Children.
She is optimistic that parliament will accept the bill – bringing Switzerland in line with legislation in other European countries – as most political parties and pressure groups appear willing to end a long-running controversy.
She says it is right to try to solve the issue of joint custody first and tackle the payment of alimonies at a later stage.
But further measures, including mandatory courses, are needed which go beyond legal amendments.
“For the benefit of the child, parents have to be empowered and learn how to cope with joint custody. At the moment, the funding for such courses is insufficient,” Wiederkehr said.
Anna Hausheer of the Association of Single Parents welcomed the government’s decision, but called for a legal minimum child support to prevent cases of poverty.
“The minimum amount should be equivalent to a simple pension for an orphaned child of a single parent family,” she said.
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Note by the editor: It is sad that the divorce rates are so high now-a-days that such amendments to the family law are necessary. On the other hand it is interesting to note that the family law keeps changing continuously.