17. 07. 12. - 15:44
Custody battles set to soar
Judges presiding over family courts are expecting a flood of custody cases following a high court ruling.
The Constitutional Court in Vienna has ruled that more rights need to be given to unmarried fathers seeking joint or single custody of their children.
The high court says it is only fair that fathers who have never married the mother of their children are given as much chance to a family life as their married or divorced counterparts.
The National Council now has until January next year to come up with a reform to the current system.
But judges are worried it will lead to a flood of new cases, which current staffing levels simply will not be able to deal with.
Chairwoman of the body that represents family court judges, Doris Täubel-Weinreich, said: "We are worried this will lead to an explosion in the number of cases. If that is the case we will need many more staff."
There are currently 750,000 fathers in Austria who do not have custody rights.