Saturday, January 5, 2008

Norwegian View on Shared Custody

The Florida Divorce Law Blog has some interesting new from Norway’s Children’s Ombudsman: Commuting Between Separated Parents’ Homes. Interesting in that the theory lying behind shared parenting is that more contact between parents and child are good things. Some points from the post:

"Norway has an Ombudsman for Children, a government official who is supposed to be a mixture of spokesperson and advocate for kids.

And Norway’s Ombudsman doesn’t think children should have to “commute” between their parents’ respective homes after divorce."

He thinks this puts the parents’ rights above the children’s needs. And that the “commute” is too stressful and disruptive to most children.

The Ombudsman points out that some separated parents even want their children to attend different schools.

Now I do not have a clue about Norwegian family law, but the problem in the last paragraph pops up here in Indiana. We already know about separation anxiety in ordinary visitation matters. There, I say this report has some importance for us in Indiana. Indiana does not presume that any particular custody arrange is the best for all children. If you use the search function above and type in Minnesota, you will find an article noticing Minnesota going to a presumption of shared custody. The more I work on this blog and see what is going on in the wider world, the more I appreciate how enlightened is Indiana's child custody law.

I find this ombudsman idea very intriguing but I made a bad assumption that no information could be found about it. Wrong. Googling "norway Ombudsman for Children", I found About the Ombudsman for Children. Which is in English but on the ombudsman's official web page. These two paragraphs give me the idea that the ombudsman's duty are greater than say the director of Indiana's FSSA:

The duties of the Ombudsman are to promote children's interests to public and private authorities and to investigate the developments of conditions under which children grow up.

The Ombudsman has the power to investigate, criticise and publicise matters important to improve the welfare of children and youth. However, the Ombudsman cannot by law reverse administrative actions or revoke administrative decisions.

Not that I expect Indiana to do anything like this, but would it hurt us?

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