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'Kramer vs. Kramer' and, more recently, 'Marriage Story', among other titles, are films that show the role of children in a disputed divorce.

Or rather, when children become the most painful shrapnel of a breakup.

In the heat of certain battles, paradoxically, parents are not the most suitable to defend the interests of a minor, and that is where judges, prosecutors and lawyers come into play.

Susanna Antequera (Weinheim, 1971), a lawyer specializing in Family Law and Family Criminal Law, has seen all of her parade through her offices in Madrid and Barcelona.

She defines herself as a firm defender of children's rights and thus spoke last November at the

IX World Congress on the Rights of Children and Adolescents

(Córdoba, Argentina).

In her opinion, it is necessary to make the specialty of Family Law visible due to the social function it fulfills, and she regrets that many judges and lawyers lack specific training.

For this claim, she is a candidate for the Top 100 Women Leaders of 2022.

Do we experience moments of special conflict in couple breakups? Yes.



has marked a before and after.

Now the conflict has increased, there is much more tension between fathers and mothers.

Lawyers are finding it more difficult to reach agreements.

The pandemic has meant a slap in the face of family income and this has a negative impact, especially on minors.

In a rupture, many interests intervene,

selfishness emerges

, and the covid has been the final touch in this Molotov cocktail.

You demand more training in Family Law. Before going to trial, I always insist that parents use the mediation service, because if they go all the way, they may find themselves with a judge who lacks specific Family training.

This does not happen in the same way in all the autonomous communities, which means discrimination for the citizen depending on where they live.

It may be that you have a judge who is unaware of current jurisprudence and does not know, for example, that in general

terms joint custody

is the most beneficial for a minor.

Before, it was normal to grant custody to the mother, not now. Is it the most beneficial for the children? In general terms, yes.

In Family Law there is a maxim that is to seek the interest of the minor.

If a client acknowledges that her husband's working hours are compatible with parenting and that he is a good father, I ask her, 'then why are you asking for sole custody and not joint custody?

We have to empathize with minors.

Sometimes I come across very selfish mothers who are convinced -wrongly- that if they go to court they will win the exclusive. What are the differences between guardianship and custody and parental authority? Guardianship and custody refers to logistics, to whom or who they take care of the child.

Parental authority has to do with important decisions that affect her, like where she lives,

First Communion

, what school and extracurricular does he go to, if he is


or not etc

It is very difficult for parental rights to be withdrawn, very difficult.

The differences between both concepts mean, for example, that a parent cannot take her son to live in another province.

In the case of Shakira and Piqué, if she takes the children to Miami, it will be because there has been an agreement between them and they have set it in the regulatory agreement that has to be approved by a judge and a prosecutor. Are there many surprises in the trials? Yes, there can be very different sentences.

A woman may believe that she will have sole custody of her because her father has never acted like her, but precisely for this reason, the judge or prosecutor may decide to give her a chance and activate joint custody.

I had a case in which the mother, with exclusive custody, believed that she could take her son to another province without consent and therefore,

even when the baby was breastfeeding, the judge determined the shared, for which he had to remove the milk.

Judges are betting more and more on this formula, which is why it is very important that parents are well advised and informed.

It is best not to go to trial, because you know how to get in, but not how to get out. How does joint custody work in practice? It doesn't have to be for weeks.

In small children, up to 5 or 6 years old, it seems very long and the normal thing is two weekdays for each one and alternate weekends.

The optimal exchange is at school, much better than at home, because tensions are avoided.

Children perceive everything. Even if it is the trend now, in which cases is joint custody not appropriate? If there are many conflicts between parents, with insults, violence, etc.,

Sussana Antequera, at the World Congress on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Argentina.SA

From the age of 12, a judge can consult the minor on issues such as who he prefers to live with.

You are against this exploration.

Why? It is widespread in International Law and although they are personal interviews of no more than 10-15 minutes, I think it is an

emotional slap

of an absolute caliber for the minor.

In addition, sometimes, if they are considered mature enough, they are even under 12 years of age.

They take on a lot of stress, are manipulated, and have conflicts of loyalty to their parents.

I have seen children crying and some have even had to go to the ER afterwards.

They have the right not to suffer this collision of fundamental rights.

That is why I am not in favor of this exploration, unless it is the

minor himself who wants to speak

with the judge.

There are also explorations by a psychosocial cabinet in the courts, but there are a lack of resources and they are saturated.

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