Overall, the new regulation is “to the detriment of the children affected,” said Lambrecht.


Overall, the new regulation is “to the detriment of the children affected,” said Lambrecht.

The Federal Cabinet today decided to reform custody of children of unmarried parents. According to this, fathers should be able to enforce joint custody more easily and quickly. If necessary, this is also possible against the will of the mother. Under no circumstances should the child’s wellbeing be impaired. The new regulation had become necessary after a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said that the reform was a reflection "a new social model" contrary.

Father can apply for joint custody at any time

According to the draft, an unmarried father can in future apply to the family court for so-called joint care for his child. If the mother does not comment on it within a certain period of weeks or only contradicts the application with arguments that are not related to the best interests of the child, the parents receive joint custody. Only if the court is convinced that the father’s custody harms the child should a different decision be made.

The previous regulation was unconstitutional

Until now, parents who are not married to each other have only been given joint custody if they agree to do so. So the mother had to agree. Otherwise, she got sole custody. This regulation was objected to by the European Court of Human Rights in December 2009 and overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court in summer 2010.

"Modern custody required"

Justice Minister Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger referred after the cabinet decision that in recent years "the forms of family coexistence" would have changed rapidly. The proportion of children born out of wedlock more than doubled from 15 percent in 1995 to around 33 percent in 2010. "The figures show that modern custody is required that takes the interests of all parties into account" said the FDP politician in Berlin. A child should "if possible experience both parents as equal in their personal life".

Is it too short for the mother to comment?

The Bavarian Minister of Justice, colleague Beate Merk, was dissatisfied. The mother did not have enough time to comment, said the state justice minister in Munich. The law provides that the woman should have at least six weeks after the birth of the child. This is "clearly too short" said Merk. "Instead, you should, for example, orient yourself to the statutory maternity protection periods in labor law, which are generally eight weeks."

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Criticism from CSU and SPD

In addition, the deputy CSU chairwoman criticized the fact that no hearing of the parents in court is planned if the mother does not react. "The court can only determine the actual circumstances in a personal conversation" she said.

The same point criticized the vice chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Christine Lambrecht. That the mother has to react within six weeks is "unreasonable immediately after the birth of the child". Besides, be it "an absurdity" that the family court should make a decision without hearing the parents and the youth welfare office if the mother does not react. Overall, the new regulation "to the detriment of the children concerned" stated Lambrecht.

48 percent of 18-29-year-olds in Europe still live with their parents or again. This group mainly includes young men: 68 percent of male 18-24 year olds sit at their parents’ kitchen table. For women in this age group, it is 59 percent.

Among the slightly older, 25-29-year-olds, it is still 35 percent of men and 26 percent of women. This is the result of a study by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), in which around 44,000 people in 28 EU countries were interviewed. The most recent data on family life refer to the year 2011.

Nest in Hungary, fleeing nest in Finland

There are serious differences between the individual countries. Most of them "Nestling" live in Malta and Slovenia (85 percent each of 18-29 year olds), followed by Italy (79 percent), Hungary (77 percent) and Slovenia (75 percent). In Hungary there was a particularly sharp increase of 36 percentage points over four years. In most countries the numbers have increased. The was in the Europe-wide mean "Nesting quota" in 2007 at 40 percent and increased to 48 percent by 2011.

In Finland, most young people leave home early: only 15 percent of 18-29 year olds are nestled. Germany follows in second place with 23 percent. Austria and Denmark (24 percent) share third place, followed by Great Britain (26 percent).

External constraints are often the reason

In most cases, unemployment and financial bottlenecks are responsible for the young adults staying at home or returning. Nonetheless, loungers do not necessarily live more comfortably: Almost half of the families struggle with financial difficulties and one in five even struggle with forms of poverty. The situation is worst in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus.

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Children and adolescents should be better protected from becoming victims of sexual abuse or pornography. But also for adults there should be more protection from exposing images.

These are the most important changes

Cyber ​​bullying: In general, no images may be passed on to third parties that are suitable for the reputation of the person depicted "cause considerable harm". This applies not only to nude photos, but also to other exposing photos. Unauthorized recordings that show someone else’s helplessness are also prohibited. This does not apply to press photos of accident sites, for example.

Naked photos: Stricter regulations apply to children and young people. Anyone who photographs boys and girls naked in order to sell or swap the recordings is a criminal offense. Private pictures are not included. This means that parents can, for example, still take pictures of their children playing naked on the beach.

Posing pictures: The legal situation is also clarified in the case of so-called posing pictures: recordings showing naked or half-naked children in one "unnaturally gendered attitude" show or focus on their how does ashley madison work genitals in a provocative way. They are expressly considered child pornography and are also prohibited.

Penalty: Anyone who procures child pornographic material must expect a prison sentence of up to three years in the future – instead of the previous two years.

Limitation periods: There is a limitation period of 20 years for serious sexual offenses. So far, this begins at the age of 21 of the victim – in the future only at the age of 30.

Cyber ​​grooming: Attempts by an adult to contact children using false information via the Internet or other means, for example in order to induce them to engage in sexual acts, should be punished more extensively.

Wards: The criminal offense of sexual abuse of wards is expanded. In future, this will also include cases in which the perpetrator is the victim’s substitute teacher. These have so far been excluded.

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Children in industrialized countries are also suffering massively from the consequences of the financial crisis. A total of 2.6 million children in 41 rich countries have slipped below the poverty line since the crisis began in 2008, according to a report by the UN children’s aid organization Unicef.

As a result, 76.5 million children in these countries live in poverty. In more than half of the 41 countries, child poverty has risen since the beginning of the crisis, in countries such as Greece and Iceland by more than 50 percent. In 18 countries, on the other hand, child poverty has decreased, in some cases significantly: Australia, Chile, Finland, Norway, Poland and Slovakia recorded a decrease of around 30 percent. In Germany, child poverty fell by 1.3 percent between 2008 and 2012.

These countries are particularly hard hit

The countries that have been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis have seen the greatest increases in child poverty. This applies to the southern European countries Greece, Italy, Spain and Croatia, the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and to the countries suffering from the recession Ireland, Iceland and Luxembourg.

The crisis hits young people between the ages of 15 and 24 particularly hard in rich countries. According to Unicef, the unemployment rate in this age group has increased in more than three quarters of the countries.

country Share of child poverty in 2008 in percent Share of child poverty in 2012 in percent
Countries with the strongest rise in child poverty:
Iceland 11.2 31.6
Greece 23.0 40.5
Latvia 23.6 38.2
Ireland 18.0 28.6
Spain 28.2 36.3
USA 30.1 32.2
Countries where child poverty has fallen the most:
Chile 31.4 22.8
Poland 22.4 14.5
Australia 19.2 13.0
Germany 15.2 15.0

Household incomes are falling

In Greece, which was saved from bankruptcy with international help as a result of the financial crisis, the median income of households with children fell back to 1998 levels by 2012. In Ireland and Spain, incomes have fallen by ten years, as has Luxembourg, one of the richest countries in Europe. In Estonia, Greece and Italy, twice as many households as before the crisis can no longer afford meat or fish every two days

According to Unicef, at the beginning of the financial crisis, some countries initially averted negative effects on children. But the budget cuts introduced in many countries since 2010 have worsened the situation, especially in the Mediterranean region, the organization criticized.

"The Unicef ​​research shows that the scope of social policy measures was a decisive factor in preventing poverty" explained O’Malley. "All states need strong social networks to protect children in good times and bad." O’Malley urged wealthy countries to lead by example in the fight against child poverty and that "Child welfare as a priority" to watch.

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Excitement in Berlin: a five-meter high protective wall was erected almost overnight between a newly built posh district in Dahlem and the site of a daycare center and a skater track.

  • April 2, 2020
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