Ιnterview by Pola Damianou, legal advisor of Active Dads N.P.C.S.
NGO “Active Dads for the Rights of the Child” was created in April 2020.
“The desire of fathers to have a more active role in their children’s lives and the fact that for decades Courts gave the exclusive custody of the child to a single parent (in the vast majority of 98% to the mother), was the motive behind the creation of this organization,” Pola Damianou, legal advisor of Active Dads N.P.C.S., told GBF.
“The pioneers of this project are simple, everyday people, of many professions, education and specialties, from every corner of Greece, and they are all fathers ready to defend the right of every child to be raised by both parents.
The purpose of Active Fathers for the Rights of the Child is to inform the public about this very important social problem. The enrichment of the public debate with scientifically substantiated findings and researches, with the ultimate goal of changing the judicial culture (jurisprudence) with the legislation of joint custody according to a legal presumption for all parents who want and are suitable to exercise their parental duties.
In April 2020, ‘Active Dads’ had only 9 founding members. At this moment, more than 30,000 people are supporting our cause and the organization is growing daily.”
Are you happy with the new law on child custody after a divorce? How do you believe it will improve the lives of children and parents?
The Act 4800/2021, regulating the relationship between parents and children after a divorce, has many positive points for the development and the life of the child. To us, the most important element of the Act is joint custody. The fact that both parents will have equal rights in the life of their children even after the divorce. Parents will make decisions about their children’s life together, and both opinions will be equal.
The new institution of family mediation introduced through the Act as a first step in finding a consensual solution to the differences between parents in terms of custody is also something new, which gives hope that there will be a normalization of relations and resolution of issues without going to Court.
The provision stipulating that the time of communication of the child, in physical presence, with the other parent is presumed to be 1/3 of the total time is also an innovation, while at the same time communication is excluded or restricted for extremely serious reasons, especially when the parent with whom the child doesn’t reside with has been deemed unfit to exercise the right of communication.
Another important point in the new Act is the provision about the training of Judges who will deal with cases related to disputes between parents and their relationship with their children. With special training programs at the National School of Judges, the Judges will learn how to deal with family disputes and how to be able to make a right decision focusing on the child.
How are ex-wives and children protected in cases of abusive husbands?
The Act provides for the consequences of poor performance of parental duties, especially when a parent is or has at some point been abusive.
A determining factor of poor exercise of parental care is the conviction of the parent with a final court decision of the Court of First Instance for domestic violence or for crimes against sexual freedom or for crimes of financial exploitation of sexual life.
In extremely urgent cases, the prosecutor shall order all appropriate measures for the protection of the child until a court decision is issued.
Is the new Greek law similar to the ones applied in Europe?
Many countries around the world such as 27 states of America, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and of course from Europe, countries such as France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and others, have provisions for joint custody. At the same time, we hear many other countries that consider modifying their Acts about parent-child relationship.
This article is part of the feature on the new family law (law 4800/2021), which modifies the framework governing parent-child relations and introduces joint- custody of children. The feature is published in the July/ August 2021 issue of Greek Business File, available here.