Divorces with aftermath

By Christian BlockLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

In recent years, the model of "résidence alternée" (alternating custody of children) has become established in Luxembourg. But there are neither official figures, nor are both parents really equal in all respects.

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When we meet Jérôme (name changed by the editors) for the interview, he seems relaxed. A week earlier or later it would probably have been different. Because he takes turns looking after the children every week.

Jérôme is divorced. He has agreed to talk about his situation, but wants to remain anonymous. He wants to avoid that the interview might lead to discussions. Although the divorce took place a few years ago, this can be an indication of the conflict potential that can arise from separations and divorces.

In June 2018, after many years of debate, Parliament established a reform of divorce law that amounts to a paradigm shift. The reform has accelerated the divorce process by introducing family court judges and enshrining the principle of joint custody of children. In the case of both separations and divorces, both parents are to consult together on the important decisions in their child's life. In addition, the MPs abolished the question of fault with their votes. Since the law came into force, divorce can only take place by mutual consent or as a result of a breakdown. If the marriage ends in a dispute, both partners go their separate ways without the other having to be proven at fault.

Jérôme would have preferred this path because his wife at the time had broken their mutual trust through her behaviour. But because the legal situation changed, "we decided by mutual agreement to share custody of the children, " the father reports. Claiming custody for himself and thus provoking a dispute was not what he wanted. "What would have been the point of the disagreement?" Jérôme remarks, and immediately follows up with the answer to his rhetorical question: It would have meant accepting the risk that the children would stay with their mother and that he would only see his offspring at weekends. For the children, that would have been an even more difficult situation than it already was. "In the beginning, the children suffered a lot, " Jérôme remembers. There were "difficulties", not only at school, he elaborates, while remaining vague. "With time, things have improved."

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