EU dishes scathing critique of Danish divorce
November 22, 2013
by Emil Johansen Vendelbo
It is not the child who come first in custody cases in Denmark. At least not according to a delegation of members of the European Parliament who strongly criticized the Danish Parental Responsibility Act, when it comes to matters of custody and access settled in court and state administration. Their report is approved by the Civil Appeals Committee in the EU.
The EU delegation criticism of the legislation, which was adopted by a united parliament in 2007 and revised last fall, says among other things:
The Danish Parental Responsibility Act requires contact for both parents, which sometimes creates perverse effects when mothers could face jail to protect their child from an abusive father and where a violent father can have access and even full custody of the child.
One lawyer with extensive experience in divorces, Pia Deleuran, agrees with the criticism and wants a change of legislation. She has seen many examples of cases where the law has not weighed the child interests.
The Act blindly considers that both parents absolutely must be in the child’s life. That works in most divorces, but in 10 percent of divorces with high conflict, it can be problematic because it is not always best for the child to see both parents, says Pia Deleuran.
Margrete Auken, Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist People’s Party and part of the Civil Appeals Committee, says the document has poor workmanship, and she does not believe that the criticism is made on merit because it relies on complaints from citizens after a court decision.
“It’s an agonizing unfair report. I do not think that there is evidence to say that no account is taken of the child, it is very difficult to go in and take sides on the basis of the kinds of complaints here.” says Margrete Auken.