Sunday, September 27, 2020

majka i deteDue to the significant number of calls from mothers who are facing problems with regard to the respect of court decisions that regulate children’s contacts with fathers they do not live with, during proclaimed state of emergency, Autonomous Women's Center addressed the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Justice with the request to issue clear instructions for parents.

After the proclaimed state of emergency, the Autonomous Women's Center continued, via telephone, with providing psycho-social and legal support to women related to protection in cases of domestic violence and other family law issues. Since then, number of mothers called requesting advice with regard to the respect of court decisions that regulate children’s contacts with fathers they do not live with.

Namely, one of the problems with regard to the respect of court decisions that regulate children’s contacts is related to visitation hours during police curfew. In such situations, there is a need for the parents themselves to make arrangements in order to "change" the visitation hours during the day when movement of citizens is permitted. However, in those cases where there is a history of domestic violence, it can be very difficult or sometimes impossible to make an agreement that is consistent with the visitation hours determined by the court and the interests of the children. Another type of problem exists in cases where some of the family members with whom the child lives, suffer from chronic illness or are older. In these cases, frequent movement of the child and contact with a larger number of persons may lead to a greater possibility of the transmission of the virus, which can present a serious safety and health risk to the child, and particularly to other family members.

Having in mind that in the current state of emergency there is an objective inability to fully or partially respect of court decisions that regulate children’s contacts with their parents, we request that relevant ministries issue clear instructions on how court decisions can be respected during a state of emergency, related to child visitation models, which include the specific situations and circumstances outlined in this letter.

The letters are available on this link in Serbian language only.