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Can shared custody be ordered even if one spouse opposes to it?

Traditionally in France Custody over children was given to the mother.

The father would have a visitation right usually two weekends a month plus half of the school holidays.

Sometimes, the father was granted an extra visitation day during the school week.

The father would have the obligation of paying child support to his ex wife.

During the last ten years shared custody has become a trend in France.

Even if the other spouse doses not agree, shared custody will be granted if it is possible from a practical point of view.

For shared custody to be granted:

  • parents must live sufficiently close to each other to allow the child to go to school and leisure activities without to much hassle,
  • both parents have a professional activity compatible with education of children (for instance: not implying night work or lots of traveling).

When it is granted judges usually order that the children spend alternately one week with each parent.

There will be no obligation of payment of child support unless there is a very substantial difference of income between parents.