I hope SF will hold their word from a year ago and change this law in order to reflect the child’s best interests.
Danish Citizenship Trumps Child’s Best Interests
In many custody cases between a Danish citizen and a parent with a connection abroad, the affiliation to Denmark is given more weight than the child’s best interests. SF want to avoid such cases by tightening up the Parental Responsibility Act.
“Who says that the child is better off in Denmark? There can be many things at play, for example who the child has the better connection with. This is especially meaningful when you are talking about smaller children.” Helle Larsen: chair of Danish family lawyers
One parent is foreign, the other is Danish but for example carries out violence against the child.
In custody cases, where that is the case, what happens is that full custody is awarded to the Danish citizen- without regards to what is best for the child.
MetroXpress has become aware of many of such cases, and the organisation Danish Family Lawyers confirms the trend.
“I am aware of cases, where you get the impression that one parents connection to the country is more important that the child’s best interests” said chair Helle Larsen.
The explanation is that many decisions come from the so-called “Status Quo” principle.
This means that the status quo is valued very highly and will not risk that children might move region or country.
“It is clear that in these cases (where only one parent is a Danish citizen ed), the status quo principle is weighted heavily” said High Court Judge Kurt Rasmussen.
But Helle Larsen doesn’t think that is the right way to decide cases.
“It’s important to remember, that one cannot just conclude that the non-Danish citizen will move abroad just because they are not a Danish citizen or were born in another country.”
SF’s parental responsibility spokesman Anne Baastrup thinks that politicians should look closer to this area, when parental responsibility laws have to be revised.
“There is no one that seriously believes that it is in the child’s best interests to live with a parent who is really Danish but exposes the children to violence. We must be more precise in our drafting of the law, so this does not happen in practice,” said Anne Baastrup.
The courts do not collect statistics about whether Danish citizens get custody more often their former non-Danish partners.