Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called for a reform in the way alimony is calculated as part of a major shake-up in the Maltese family courts.
“It cannot be that judges decide how much maintenance should be paid on an ad hoc basis, without any clear measurements,” Grech said on NET FM today. “There are people who are being made to pay maintenance they cannot afford and others who are paying less than they can afford.”
Grech, a family lawyer by profession, also called for the slashing of delays at the Family Court, warning that prolonged custody battles are resulting in parents being denied the right to see their children for years at a stretch.
“If I sell you a shoddy piece of furniture and the courts take four years to make me pay damages, that’s fine. However, if I’m denied access to my daughter for a year or two years, then that’s time which will never come back for me and her.”
“If politicians truly care about people, we must put these issues at the heart of our policies.”
NGO Happy Parenting Malta for Happier Children recently launched a 17-day campaign to spread awareness about parental alienation, which is particularly problematic for fathers.
The Opposition leader made his point known after Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that the minimum time couples must live apart before getting divorced will be slashed from four years to six months.
Grech, who had campaigned against divorce ahead of the 2012 referendum, accused Abela of using this bill to try and “sow divisions within the PN”.
“This shows how shallow the Prime Minister is. I was against the proposed divorce law in 2012 and he’s now realised it needs to be changed, but he thought we’d oppose it. How could I oppose it when I’m in touch with public sentiment?”