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The German government says it will reform its custody laws after the European Court of Human Rights said a German man had suffered discrimination.
The Strasbourg court ruled that German courts were wrong to reject the unmarried father’s plea to have joint custody of his daughter, 14.
Under current German law, single fathers can only get joint custody if the mother gives her consent.
Germany’s justice minister says the custody law now needs changing. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said there were plenty of cases where unmarried fathers “want to take responsibility for the child without entering into a power struggle with the mother”.
She told Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the law ought to “take more account of the father’s interests”.
European Court judgments are binding on states that have signed the rights convention, meaning that they have to adjust their laws if a rights violation is exposed.