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Court ruling paves the way for automatic joint custody in Germany

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Court ruling paves the way for automatic joint custody in Germany

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Unmarried couples in Germany could soon be given automatic joint custody of their children.

It comes after the country’s highest court ruled that denying single fathers legal rights over their child if their former partners don’t agree is unconstitutional.

Unlike many other countries, German law automatically grants sole custody to the mother when unmarried couples separate.

The country’s justice minister had already announced a reform of the law in the wake of a separate ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in December.

Today’s decision is sure to be welcomed by campaigners, who say courts must take more account of unmarried fathers’ interests and reflect the reality of modern family life.