Minister of Social Affairs and Housing Eygló Harðardóttir believes that child custody laws could soon be taking on some big changes.
Vísir reports that Haraldur Einarsson, an MP for the Progressive Party, took up the matter in parliament today. Haraldur said that there is “no justice nor equality” in Iceland’s current child custody laws. These laws state that, in the event that a child’s parents are not married or living together, custody of the child is automatically awarded to the mother. This, says, Haraldur, is an “obvious anachronism” that needs to be changed.
Haraldur recommends instead that joint custody be the default setting. Eygló, who belongs to the same party as Haraldur, seconded Haraldur, saying, “Research has shown that young men today consider it important to be watchful and caring fathers.”
Sigrún Júlíusdóttir, a professor of social working at the University of Iceland, said that both parents need to be actively involved in the raising of a child, as opposed to the child living with one parent and the other visiting, as an important part of developing an “emotional relationship” between parent and child. She also believes that the current law has a part to play in the difficult position many single mothers find themselves in.
As it is, the joint-custody idea has not yet been put into a parliamentary proposal or a bill.