What is it?
Shared custody is one of several forms post-divorce custody of a child, and based on the assumption that it is desirable for the child to have an equal amount of contact with both parents. According to a Constitutional Court judgement from 2014, shared custody should be a priority solution, nevertheless not an evident one. Even though we have to approach each individual case individually, we can still summarize a few basic principles that the court looks at before deciding.
Prerequisites for granting shared custody
The first prerequisite for the court to contemplate ever shared custody is a genuine and sincere interest in the child. If this subjective criterion is not met, shared custody is not going to be considered by the court. Furthermore, according to the Constitutional Court, at least the following four criteria must be assessed:
- Blood link between the child and the person seeking custody.
- The degree of preservation of the identity of the child and of his / her family ties in the event of awarding such type of custody.
- Parent's ability to ensure the development of the child and to secure his/her physical, educational, emotional, material, and other needs.
- The child's wish.
In case that one of the parents fulfills these criteria significantly better, it is usually in the child's best interest to be entrusted to that parent's exclusive care. If both parents meet these requirements roughly equally, and there are no other objective reasons that would exclude shared custody, the court has no reason to oppose it. Objective reasons mean such reasons that would cause an unreasonable burden on the child, for example if the child is emotionally unstable, has Asperger's syndrome, or if the parents live at a disproportionate distance from one another, and this distance could interfere with the child's schooling. The goal is to find and meet the best interests of the child.
Alimony in shared custody
The alimony obligation does deffinitely not disappear in case of shared custody. However, income of both parents is considered. If both parents have roughely the same income, approximately the same amount will be determined for both in alimony. In such cases, there is no need for alimony to even be determined. If one of the parents has a significantly higher income than the other, higher alimony is to be determined. However, it will, of course, be less than alimony which would be paid in case of exclusive custody and it is not intended to cover needs of the other parent. Courts in these cases always look at the interest and needs of the child and are base their decision on the potential of both parents.