The changes in regulations for divorced parents are set to be implemented, despite them not including the absolute cancelation of the Infancy Custody Clause.
A change in the clause, however, will allow fathers to take custody
over children who have reached the age of two years,
compared to the previous clause of six years.
Professor Dan Shanit, who headed the committee on changes regarding divorced parents, said the Infancy Custody Clause needed to be canceled completely, which says that children up to the age of six can only be under the custody of the mother.
Former justice minister Yaakov Ne'eman had already sent out the memo last year on the Parents and Children Law, which was based on Shanit's conference. The clause that stood out in the memo was the change in the custody law. It received a lot of criticism, mainly from women's organizations.
According to the law, when parents
divorce and can't reach an agreement on who will be considered the children's guardian, the courts can establish that children under the age of six will remain with their mother, under the Infancy Custody Clause. As a result, the other, older siblings also remain under the custody of the mother so as not to separate them. Divorced fathers have been condemning the clause for many years, claiming it is automatically discriminatory.
In Ne'eman's memo to change the clause, he noted that it is the right of the children to have both of their parents responsible for their upbringing and development, and therefore there is no reason for a child under six to be automatically sent into his mother's custody. If the parents can't come to an agreement on how to share the responsibilities, the law gives guidelines to the parents and the court on how to act for the benefit of the child.
Current Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
will not completely cancel the clause, but instead she will present the Knesset's legislative committee with the clause that will only give mothers automatic custody for children up to the age of two.
Other changes that will be presented are that the courts will split the parenting roles between the father and mother as much as possible in order to help the children. As well, if one of the parents wants to immigrate or move to another home with the child, without the agreement of the second parent, than the parent must present the court with a plan on how the child will be absorbed in the new surroundings, and a plan for how the child will be able to remain in contact with the other parent.
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