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Les enfants et le divorce - Influence de la pratique du droit sur les transitions familiales

Summary of results

The revision of the Divorce Law in the year 2000 has had a significant impact on the statutory regulation of the children’s concerns in divorce proceedings in Switzerland (Federal Law on the Amendment of the Swiss Civil Code dated 26th June1998, AS 1999, 1118; BBl 1996 I 1 ff.). On the one hand, the participation of the affected children was substantially improved by granting them the right to be heard and to be represented in the divorce proceedings. On the other hand, the custody system underwent a fundamental redesigning – and this is the crucial element of the revision - by introducing the possibility of joint custody after a divorce in Art. 133 al. 3 of the Swiss Civil Code.

The extensive and transdisciplinary empirical study «Children and Divorce – Current Legal Practices and their Impact on Family Transitions», carried out under the leadership of Prof. Dr. iur. Andrea Büchler and Dr. phil. Heidi Simoni, analysed the experiences with the new Divorce Law in Switzerland over a period of three years, with a special focus on the wellbeing of the affected children.

The purpose of the study is to examine the real life situation of parents and children during divorce proceedings as well as after a divorce from a legal, sociological and pedagogic-psychological perspective and to explore it with socio-scientific methods. The main focus is placed on the judiciary practice in divorce law, the drawing and implementing of rules in every day life by and for the families, the changes in the revised divorce law with regard to the interests and the rights of the affected children, the feelings of the children, mothers and fathers after a divorce.

The above project is composed of several, transdisciplinary partial projects: an analysis of 567 divorce files from 18 courts of first instance, a questionnaire filled out by 2’112 divorced mothers and fathers and personal interviews of 23 families and 14 judges. The research concentrated geographically on the cantons of Zurich, Basle-Country and Basle-Town and temporally on divorces that took place in the years 2002 and 2003. The data collection via questionnaires took place in spring 2005, the analysis of divorce files primarily in the first half of the year 2005 and the interviews with parents, children and judges were carried out between the End of 2004 and Mid-2006.

The results of the study show that a majority of the children and parents are relatively satisfied with their lives two to three years after a divorce. However, they also bring to light the fact that the divorce leads to straining and conflictual situations for 75% of the fathers out of custody as well as one third of the mothers with joint custody rights. Today, in two out of three divorce cases parental custody is granted solely to one parent, and only in one third of the cases jointly to both mother and father. The decision is taken to a large extent irrespective of the actual child care situation. As the survey has shown, 86 % of the divorced parents live a „traditional" family model that features a mother who is mainly in charge of the children and works parttime in most cases and a father who works full time and has visiting contact with the children. Only mothers and fathers with joint custody, who also share the daily care for the children, are both highly satisfied with the arrangements and their everyday lives. Against this background the research team recommends a custody model that does justice not only to the emotional closeness between children and their parents but also to the actual care and relationship situation, and takes especially into account the tension between the awarded decision-making powers and the real life situation:

1. By law, custody rights should be granted to both parents – even after a divorce – and only be withdrawn for reasons related with the best interest of the child.

2. An analysis of the best interest of the child, i.e. a thorough examination of the arrangements made regarding the children as well as a hearing of the children are indispensable in a divorce procedure. Consequently, parents have to come to an agreement regarding their sharing of the child care and the distribution of the child allowance.

3. The parent who is caring for the child should be as autonomous as possible in decision-making and only have to consult the other parent for decisions with particularly far reaching consequences. Furthermore, the parent out of custody should have the possibility to intervene in certain cases and have decisions examined by a court from a point of view of the best interest of the child.

The study further shows that, despite the legal guidelines, participation of the children in the reorganisation of family life both in court practice as well as in every day life, is far from being guaranteed. In general, the wishes and needs of the children are only too rarely a real subject of discussion. There is also very little consciousness so far that the right to be heard is a fundamental personal right of the child. Against this background the research team formulates the following requirements regarding further steps towards an effective imple-mentation of the participatory rights:

1. An in-depth reflexion is required regarding the participation of children in case of the separation or divorce the parents. It is a duty of the society that has to be taken on equally by parents, advisors and authorities.

2. Separation and divorce proceedings have to be examined regarding the functional positioning of children hearings. The form, contents and consequences of these hearings have to be discussed and unified in practice.

3. There is a definite need for training in hearing of children with a special focus on children rights, developmental and communication psychology.

4. Specialists from several disciplines must be trained to represent children in divorce proceedings, in order to ensure that this opportunity of deputy participation can actually be seized.

Plus des informations

Ce projet examine les premières expériences consécutives à la révision du droit du divorce en Suisse, soit, la pratique actuelle et le quotidien des familles de divorcés après 2000 avec un focus sur l'état des enfants et des jeunes concernés.

Contexte
En 2000, on comptait en Suisse 12718 enfants mineurs touchés par le divorce de leurs parents. Les décisions prises lors des procédures de divorce concernent régulièrement les intérêts et le bien-être de l'enfant. Jusqu'à présent, nous ne possédons pas de données empiriques fiables relatives à l'application du droit révisé du divorce, aux décisions prises dans les cas de divorce et à leur mise en pratique dans la vie quotidienne. La présente étude devra répondre au besoin de connaissances dans ce domaine.

Objectifs
L'objectif de l'étude consiste avant tout à examiner et à évaluer la réalité et la situation des enfants pendant et après une procédure de divorce sous l'angle du "bien-être de l'enfant". Il s'agira de savoir comment les intérêts des enfants et des jeunes sont déterminés et pris en compte dans une procédure de divorce. Il faudra aussi voir si les mineurs participent à la prise de décision pendant et après la procédure de divorce et, le cas échéant, sous quelle forme. Il conviendra également de déterminer si les enfants et les jeunes ont la faculté d'influencer la vie quotidienne, et quelles solutions juridiques leur sont les plus favorables. Ces renseignements permettront de dégager les exigences qui en découlent, à la fois pour le droit en vigueur, les tribunaux et les spécialistes d'autres professions. Enfin, cette étude révèlera si la prise en considération du point de vue de l'enfant - telle que la loi l'exige - est réalisée de manière adéquate lors d'un divorce.

Méthodes/procédé
Un aperçu représentatif de la pratique actuelle du divorce et de la réalité des familles après un divorce sera élaboré à partir d'une analyse de dossiers et d'un sondage effectué par écrit auprès de parents divorcés. Des interviews semi-dirigées seront réalisées à deux reprises et dans un intervalle de neuf mois auprès de trente systèmes familiaux (enfants, parents, spécialistes) tandis que 10 familles prises en tant que cas isolés seront analysées. Pour compléter, des interviews semi-dirigées seront menées avec des juges.

Signification
L'étude traite de manière transdisciplinaire les risques et les ressources d'une situation transitoire complexe dans le parcours des familles. Elle contribue ainsi à la prévention des troubles du comportement et du développement chez les enfants. Les éléments recueillis permettront de formuler des recommandations relatives à l'application et au développement du droit en vigueur d'une part et, d'autre part, sur la manière de prendre en compte et de soutenir les enfants de parents en instance de divorce.

Duration 01.04.04-31.12.06

Grant CHF 470 486

Proposal no.: 405240-103348

Prof. Andrea Büchler
Lehrstuhl für Privatrecht
Rechtswissenschaftliches Institut
Universität Zürich
Rämistrasse 74
8001 Zürich
Tel. 01 634 48 46
Fax 01 634 43 41
E-Mail andrea.buechler@rwi.unizh.ch  

Dr. Heidi Simoni
Leitung Praxisforschung
Marie Meierhofer-Institut für das Kind
Schulhausstrasse 64
8002 Zürich
Tel. 01 205 52 28
Fax 01 205 52 22
E-Mail simoni@mmizuerich.ch  


Publications

Steinmann, Blanca (2004). Scheidung der Eltern – und dann? Breit angelegte Forschung über Auswirkungen des neuen Scheidungsrechts. Schweizer Bulletin der Kinderrechte, 10, 2, 8-9;

Büchler, A., Simoni, H. (2006). Kinder und Scheidung – interdisziplänere Forschungsergebnisse. In: Büchler, A., Schwenzer, I. (Hrgsg.), Schriftenreihe zum Schweizer Familienrecht, Dritte Schweizer Familienrecht Tage, 23./24. Februar 2006 in Basel, Workshop-Bericht, s. 75 – 81;

Cantieni Linus, Gemeinsame elterliche Sorge nach Scheidung, Diss. Zürich 2007;Stämpfli Verlag AG 2007, ISBN 3727228555

Büchler, A., Simoni, H. (Eds.). Kinder und Scheidung. Der Einfluss der Rechtspraxis auf famililae Übergänge. Interdisziplinärer Sammelband. Beiträge des Projektteams mit Ergebnissen aus dem Projekt, Gastbeiträge und Mitgliedern der fachlichen Begleitgruppe, Synthesen der Projektleiterinnen; ; Verlag Rüegger 2007, ISBN 978-3-7283-7253-08773-6

Büchler A., Cantieni L., Simoni H. Die Regelung der elterlichen Sorge nach Scheidung de lege ferenda – ein Vorschlag. FamPra.ch 2/2007, S. 207-227

Simoni, H., Perrig-Chiello, P., Büchler, A. Complex social problems as a major challenge for social science research– the example of children an divorce. In G. Hirsch Hadorn & Ch. Pohl (Eds), Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research;

Kinder und Scheidung
Der Einfluss der Rechtspraxis auf familiale Übergänge
Plus

Simoni, H., Perrig-Chiello, P., Büchler, A. (2008). Children and Divorce: Investigating Current Legal Practices and their Impact on Family Transitions. In G. Hirsch Hadorn & Ch. Pohl (Eds), Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research (S. 259-274). Heidelberg: Springer.
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Documents:

  Article horizonte 2006
PNR52_Simoni_horizonte_f.pdf (99KB)
29.09.2006    Download >
  Article NZZ 15.07.2006
NFP52_SimoniBuechler_NZZ_060715.pdf (310KB)
17.10.2006    Download >
  Communiqué de presse 26.10.2006
NFP52_MM_Büchler_Simoni_061026.pdf (30KB)
26.10.2006    Download >
  NFP52 FaktenBüchler und Simoni
NFP52_Fakten_Büchler_Simoni.pdf (50KB)
26.10.2006    Download >
  Article Sécurité sociale 5/2006
PNR52_BuechlerSimoni_articel0506.pdf (100KB)
10.11.2006    Download >
  Interview avec Andrea Büchler, Horizons juin 2008
Horizons_Buechler_0608.pdf (175KB)
30.07.2008    Download >

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