To: The Legislative, the Judicial and the Executive Powers of the Republic of Malta
Protect and Enforce Every Child's Right to Maintain Regular Contact with their Family Members
The Maltese state is obliged to protect the right of the child to enjoy family life. The Maltese Parliament MUST legislate in favour of the Right of the Child to enjoy Equal & Regular Contact with both parents (50/50) and close family members through unequivocal substantive and procedural rules in the Civil Code, Chapter 16 and the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta respectively.
In practice, close family ties develop when children are granted unrestricted access to both parents. We strongly reiterate that the discretion of the court must only be used in cases when such equal shared parenting is proven, by the competent authorities, not to be in the best interests of the child.
We propose that the right of the child to Equal Shared Parenting is granted ex officio in separation cases to ensure the effective exercise of the right of the child to enjoy family life, without any interference.
The Civil Code must include a Sub-Title 'Equal and Shared Parental Responsibility' to ensure that modern family challenges are recognised at law and prevent any circumstance that may not allow the child to establish close family ties with both parents and their relatives, particularly siblings and maternal & paternal grandparents.
The proposed insertion in the Civil Code is in accordance with the fundamental human right of 'Everyone' to respect for their family life under Article 8 of the ECHR and Child's Right to Equal Shared Parenting under Article 24 of the Charter for the Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It shall:
- provide the Family Court with mandatory criteria on the effective exercise of shared and positive parental obligations in the best interests of the child;
- ensure every child's right to maintain regular contact with both parents is protected and enforceable by the competent law enforcement authorties without discrimination;
- order ex officio 50/50 shared parental responsibility and unrestricted access to the child unless the competent authorities recommend in writing against the rule in the child's best interests and within a reasonable timeframe.
Why is this important?
Children have a right to regular contact with both parents equally.