Alternating custody, with effect from 1st of 7th 2010, the amendment to Act no. 36/2005 Coll. the family (the "Family Act") introduced the so-called alternating custody. In § 24 paragraph. 2 about the family the Code states: "If both parents are eligible in raising the and if both parents are taking interest in the personal care of the child then the court may entrust the child to alternating custody of both parents, if it is within the interests of the child and if this way ensures better the child's needs. If the alternating personal care is supported by at least one of the parents, the court must consider whether is the alternating custody within the interests of the child.

The child has a right to both parents. The introduction of alternating custody in our legal system is based on the text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to Art. 18 paragraph. 1 Convention on the Rights of the Child "State that are participatin to the present convention shall make every effort that a principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child will be recognized. The foundation of their basic concern must be the best interests of the child. "

Alternating custody is nothing new in other European countries. Adjusting alternating custody in a form as introduced, is inspired by the rules of alternating custody in the Czech Republic. In foreigh countries is alternating custody understood not only as a right but as an obligation of parents. In family law it manifests itself for example so that it is does not allow to unreasonably refuse alternating personal care.

Alternating personal care allows the child to have adequate contact with both parents and contributes to healthy emotional and psychological development.

The core of parental agreement or court decision is how will be the childcare adjusted. It decides which one of the childs parent will live in the same household, take care of it personally and decide on its common principles.

Entrusting a child in alternating custody means to entrust to the care of the child alternately to one and the other parent for a specified period of time. The rights and duties of parents applying for the periods indicated shall be defined by the court. For divorced spouses who are parents nothing changes. The question that remains is which parent will have limited parental rights but kept parental responsibilities at the same time.

If the interest on alternating custody is reflected only by one parent, it is not a reason for a negative decision of the court. Also in this case the court will have to examine whether the alternating custody is of the childs interest. The law allows the introduction of alternating custody even if one of the parents has an attempt to prevent the other parent to conclude the agreement.

 

Shared care benefits:

• Many studies have shown that children after divorce of their parents thrived best when alternating custody.

• Both parents have the same role for the child, the child shall remain equally important. There is a greater chance that a child will maintain loving relationship with both parents, which can then be helpful for example when sick both parents can be easily replaced.

• Maintains gender equality, a child will not lose their father even after divorce.

• Alternating child care shows that even in difficult life situations a civilized cooperation and agreements can be established.

• Alternating custody has a better impact on parents who often have to suppress their negative feelings and trials to punish the other parent, but over these feelings the interests of the child have to come first.

• Parents have the time for personal development and leisure.

 

Before the introduction of this institute in the Family Act there was a common practice for minor children that were entrusted in the custody of the mother, that they became a means of "blackmail", and a way how prevent the contact of the minor with his father. The father of the minor was perceived as a source of funds for education and child care. Alternating custody reflects the fact that a child need not just the mother but needs both parents.

 

References:

- Announcement of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs no. 104/1991 Coll. (Convention on the Rights of the Child)

- Law no. 36/2005 Coll. on the family, as amended.