Government Drafts New Family Law

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Couples without children will again be considered a family.

The Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy has completed a new draft of the Family Law, which has been substantially amended in relation to the recently withdrawn controversial proposal: the definition of family has been entirely excluded, extramarital unions will again be equal in rights with marriages, and there will be no obligation for married couples who decide to get a divorce to attend a mediation process, reports Jutarnji List on October 9, 2017.

The draft will now be considered according to the new procedure announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on the day of withdrawal of the old draft of the Family Law. Once all the responses from HDZ’s coalition partners arrive, there will be further amendments, and then the law will be sent to the government. Only then will it be sent to the public consultation process: it is expected that this should happen within the next ten days.

The previous draft, which was sent to the public consultation process on 27 September only to be withdrawn the next day, for the first time introduced into the Family Law a definition of the family, according to which couples with no children, same-sex couples with or without children and a number of others combinations were no longer considered to be a family. Minister Nada Murganić has decided to change the law with her team from the Ministry, without the involvement of the working group which worked on the previous draft.

Unlike the first proposal, the amended draft puts protection of children in focus, instead of the protection of marriage. However, even the modified proposal abolishes the obligation to draw up a parenting plan for parents who are in the process of divorce, which most experts asses to be the best part of the current law. It also prescribes that divorce proceedings will be started at the courts, and not as it is now at social welfare centres.

The new draft mostly equates the rights of extramarital union with marriages – for example, they can again adopt children under the same conditions, although the law will still in some aspects discriminate against children from unions as compared to those from marriages, which is unacceptable from the point of view of children’s rights.

The law also excludes the controversial provision by which parents “above all” have the right and the freedom to independently decide on the education of their children, in accordance with their own beliefs, which was recognized as a direct obstruction of curricular reform, since it would allow parents to choose what their children will be taught.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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