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Mothers to no longer get automatic custody of kids under six
By LAHAV HARKOV
22/12/2013
New bill meant to reflect and encourage Israeli fathers taking more equal part in raising children.
 
Mothers would no longer receive automatic custody of all children under six, according to a bill authorized by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The law currently includes what is known as the “early childhood clause,” granting custody of young children to mothers in most cases.

However, if Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s proposal becomes law, judges would be able to decide whether or not to consider the early childhood clause at all, depending on the circumstances, and limit only to children under age two.

The bill calls for courts to consider the good of the child and joint parental responsibility ahead of the early childhood clause. The change is meant to reflect and encourage Israeli fathers that choose to take an active role in raising their children while maintaining the stability and involvement of both parents in the children’s lives.

Though it was approved unanimously, several ministers had reservations, and it will now be reviewed by the Courts Administration and Welfare and Social Services, Interior and Public Security ministries and then brought back to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in a month.

A similar bill by MK Gila Gamliel that sought to cancel the early childhood clause entirely, was rejected.

“Before I proposed my bill, Livni did not advance this key issue,” Gamliel said Saturday. “It is important that children have a relationship with both their parents, especially when they are young and need them most.”
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