August 2023 – Joint custody of child & alternating residence

August 2023 – Joint custody of child & alternating residence

The Single-Member Court of First Instance of Naxos, through its decision, accepted the lawsuit filed by our assignor – the father of a six-year-old boy and a student in the first grade of primary school – and allocated the exercise of custody of the said child temporally between him and the opposing mother, rejecting her counterclaim seeking exclusive custody of the child. Specifically, the court temporally allocated the exercise of custody of the minor child of the parties as follows: A) on Mondays and Tuesdays, the child resides with the first parent, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the child resides with the second parent, and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the child resides with the first parent, with the arrangement reversing during the subsequent week and so forth. Each of the parents with whom the minor child resides shall decide on all matters relating to the child’s personal care that pertain to their daily life. However, for matters related to regular medical visits or interventions, as well as matters concerning education and extracurricular activities, the agreement and collaboration of both parents will be required.

The decision was rendered after a previous preliminary decision of the same court, which ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine the suitability of the parents and their relationship with the child. It should be noted that there were allegations by the opposing mother against our assignor regarding intrafamily violence and insinuations of misconduct towards the minor, all of which were dismissed in their entirety by the court, which found the father fully suitable to exercise his parental responsibilities. Thus, the court ruled that there is no reason to deviate from the principle of joint exercise of parental care over the child as a whole, which should continue to be exercised by both parents even after the dissolution of the marital cohabitation.

In reaching this decision, the court acknowledged our assignor’s claims of interference with communication between him and the minor child by the mother, finding that the mother is indeed attempting to hinder the father’s communication with the child, both telephonically and in person, a behavior that could potentially lead to parental alienation of the minor from the father. In order to prevent this, the court ordered simultaneous residence of the child with the father during the respective period, entrusting him with the custody during that time.

It is noteworthy that the court assigned custody of the minor child to both parents, despite recognizing that their relationship remains strained. It was determined that the child’s best interests, aimed at facilitating his development in the most smooth manner possible on intellectual, emotional, and psychological levels, are served by the substantial contribution of both parents to his daily life, “independently of their inability thus far to successfully cooperate and raise the minor child without discord.”

In forming its decision to dictate the temporal allocation of custody of the minor child with alternating residence, the proximity of the residences of both parents played a significant role, following our assignor’s choice to relocate to the same community where the mother’s residence is situated, where the child had been residing following the separation. Additionally, the choice of altering his work schedule to a five-day workweek from 08:00 to 16:00 was a factor.