Call for laws giving fathers an equal role in raising children

PACE is urging Europe’s governments to ensure that fathers can play an equal part in the upbringing of their children, pointing out that the role of dads, including with very young children, “needs to be be better recognised and properly valued”.

The Assembly called for laws which give parents “equal rights vis-à-vis their children”, in the best interests of the child, including paid parental leave available to fathers, “shared residence” arrangements for children when their parents separate, and the possibility of joint custody in case of divorce.

“The fact is, fathers are sometimes faced with laws, practices and prejudices which can cause them to be deprived of sustained relationships with their children,” PACE warned. “But the involvement of both parents in their child’s upbringing is beneficial for his or her development.”

Debating a report by Francoise Hetto-Gaasch (Luxembourg, EPP/CD), the Assembly said states should “remove from their laws any difference based on marital status between parents who have acknowledged their child”.

The parliamentarians also urged greater recourse to family mediation if parents split up, including well-trained mediators, and child-friendly justice.