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Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Joint Custody

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Will a father pay less child maintenance if he and the mother are both Jewish, and agree to have joint custody of their children, rather than the mother having sole custody, and him visitation rights?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Joint Custody

Yes. A groundbreaking ruling was given in July 2017 in Israel dealing with child support for 6-15 year olds in cases of joint physical custody, where both parents are Jewish (Petition 919/15). An enlarged panel of 7 Supreme Court judges held that the obligation to provide for the basic needs of children between those ages, under a more liberal interpretation of Jewish law, and in today’s reality, is a shared burden, where physical custody is joint, and is a function of relative parental income, and earning ability. Previously, it was the father’s sole responsibility for supporting minor children between those ages, where both parents were Jewish, even when physical custody was joint, and child maintenance only became a shared burden, when a minor reached 15.

My husband and I have reached the conclusion that we do not want to be married to one another anymore. We are both extremely close to our children and neither of us can bear the idea of the children living with the other . Is there a legal solution ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Joint Custody

Yes. Mutual or joint custody may be an appropriate legal solution, though it is rare in Israel as it requires a high degree of co-operation and respect between separated or divorced parents.The idea is that custody is shared; the children actually live with two parents, in two separate homes. Usually both parents live near. A regular arrangement can be made regarding the schedule e.g. alternate weeks or specific days at one parent’s home. It is perhaps more common in Israel with older children who are more independent and mobile . They can get to both parents’ homes by themselves so that mutual custody is more flexible.

What alternatives exist to the normal ‘menu’ of one parent getting sole custody of the children , who are kept together and see the other parent twice during the week, every other weekend and spend time with both during holidays and festivals ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Exceptional Custody Arrangements

One alternative is  joint or mutual custody, which is gradually becoming more common nowadays than before. This is where the children stay together and the parents are joint custodians . This can operate  in different ways. The first option is where the children stay together but spend part of each week during the school year with each parent and every other weekend.  The second option is that they spend a set period of time with each parent alternately . For example, they can spend a  complete week  staying with one parent and the following one with the other parent. During the week that they spend with one parent arrangement can be made for some form of contact with the other parent.

Another alternative is to ‘split’ custody i.e. where there are more than one children, for them to be split up, so that at least one of them lives with each parent, and spends time with the other during visitation. It means that  brothers and sisters can lose out on the usual experience of living together, though it is sometimes preferable, depending on the particular circumstances. As a rule courts do not like to separate siblings.

Where parents live far away from one another within Israel, one parent can be awarded sole custody, but appropriate  visitation arrangements will be far from standard, but cater to their particular circumstances. For example, mid-week visitation may be impractical because of the geographical distance involved, but may be every weekend, or most weekends during the school year, and for most or all of the school holidays, for example.

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