Neiegkeeten
20.09.2020

Valérie DUPONG – #MeToo FEMINIST Appointed New Luxembourg Bâtonnier (President of the Luxembourg Bar Association)

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Valérie DUPONG – Former President and current member of ZONTA, a Radical Luxembourg Feminist Organization. Former member of OKaJu (Ombudsman fir Kanner a Jugendlecher) from 2003 to 2013. A government office that in theory should ensure that Convention on the Rights of the Child is respected in Luxembourg. In practice, a dormant state funded association without any major accomplishment in the last 17 years. An organization that has failed to protect well-being of Luxembourg children by refusing to expose continues violation of children’s rights during custody proceedings in Luxembourg Family Courts. 

On a positive note, the appointment of Valérie DUPONG for the new Luxembourg Bâtonnier brings hope that Ms. DUPONG will no longer represent and assists children in court as their solicitor. The appointment also brings good news as it puts on halt Ms. DUPONG’s active attorney work and dealings with all aspects of family life legal proceedings such as divorce, legal guardianships, visiting and children custody rights etc.

Please find below link to Luxembourg Family Court custody decisions with Valérie DUPONG involvement as an attorney assisting a mother of a 4 year old boy: Jugement No. 2020TALJAF/000150 January 16, 2020 Rôle No TAL-2019-08212 and  Jugement No. 2020TALJAF/001684 du 19 juin 2020 Rôle No TAL-2019-08212. SUMMARY BELOW.

Gender-Parental Discrimination of Fathers in Luxembourg Courts

FAD – Fathers Against Discrimination a.s.b.l. has recently been in contact with a father of a 4 year old boy (in 2020) who after separation with the mother of his son (2 years ago in 2018) and a mutual agreement between the parents raised his son together on a Résidence alternée basis for 2 years. The parents were not married and the decision to equally divide the responsibility of raising their son was made between the two of them without any court involvement.

After 2 years of Résidence alternée the father asked for the arrangement to be formalized by the Luxembourg court. Mother after receiving advice reached out for legal assistance and choose Valérie DUPONG to be her legal representative. The father thinking that since the parents exercised equal Résidence alternée for 2 years went for the first hearing in the Luxembourg Family Court without a lawyer assuming it would be a simple formality confirming what has already been in place for such a along time.

To the astonishment of the father, the lawyer of the mother Valérie DUPONG having full information about the status of parents’ arrangement introduced motion for the father to no longer raise his son on a week to week basis as it has been for the last 2 years but to only visit him every 2nd weekend.

It can be only assumed that the approach taken by Ms. DUPONG was based on extensive experience working as children’s lawyer and the concept in which it was recommended to flip upside down the life of a 4 year old boy, disrupt his schedule and deny the child his right to equal access to both parents. The fact the parents raised their son equally for 2 years prior to the legal proceedings clearly presented no importance.

Following the decision of the Luxembourg Family Court in January 2020 the father was given a 6 months trial period during which the court in an undefined way was to evaluate whether the father was capable of looking after his son! Nothing is mentioned what method judge HUBERTY has chosen to evaluate if the father is a good father or not and whether Résidence alternée is working well or not. Perhaps the intentions upon the end of the trial period was to ask the mother of her opinion, a person who for one reason or another all of a sudden objected to to continue with Résidence alternée model.

A new schedule was introduced by Luxembourg Family Court changing the life of a 4 year old boy. From that point on the father could be with his son from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning and then during the following week he could loo after his son for one night from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. The boy from one day to another was not allowed to see his father as often as before.

After a while both the mother and father agreed that the overnight visit of the boy with his father from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning was confusing their son and that it was detrimental to his emotional stability. In March 2020 COVID-19 lock down was introduced. Due to the situation the parents again reached agreement outside the court room to go back to Résidence alternée.

The story gets even more ridiculous. Upon return to court in June 2020 the court learned that parents agreed to reinstate 50/50 Résidence alternée model. As a result of that the court agreed to formalize introduction of Résidence alternée but to father’s surprise it was not an equal 50/50. As of June 2020 the boys can be with his father from Wednesday after crèche until Monday morning every 2nd week (5 days a week) but in September 2021 the father will have his son 50/50 from Monday after crèche / school till Monday morning following (7 days a week)!

All this because of the argument that the boy is too young now (4 years old in 2020) but will be old enough next year (5 years old in 2021). An argument referring to closely undefined doctrine that children before age 6 for biological reasons should remain with the mother insinuating that a father is biologically unfit to look after his child before age 6. An ideological toxic argument also introduced in another scandalous set of decisions from the Luxembourg Court of Appeal 2015 (pages 6-7) and 2019 (pages 5-6). 

Interestingly enough both decisions refer to the same almost identical text with judge Christiane RECKINGER taking part in both proceedings. Gender bias theory standing in contradiction to the evidence provided by over 40 years of empirical studies, scientific conclusions and consensus among internationally recognized psychologists confirming that 50/50 Equal Shared Parenting – Alternating Residence (Résidence alternée)  is the most effective model bringing emotional stability to children during separation and after divorce of the parents as early as 2 years onwards. A fundamental and the most effective solution protecting the kids by removing possibility for either parent to use them as an instrument of blackmail. Behavior that in severe cases can lead to Parental Alienation (PA) and a drastic emotional abuse of children.

For the mother, her lawyer Valérie DUPONG and finally judge Alexandra HUBERTY the boy was not young enough to be with his father 5 days out of 7 every week already this year but too young to be 7 days out of 7. The fact that the father following parents agreement raised his son every other week for 2 years on an equal basis since his son was 2 years old also completely escaped court’s attention.

In addition, the father was of course appointed to pay child support. Furthermore, he was also ordered to pay alimony retrospectively for the last 2 years during which he looked after his son 50% of the time. The boy is of course registered where the mother lives allowing the mother to claim all available state benefits including the funds received from Family Allocation.

Gender bias and in-considered of child’s best interest decision of the Luxembourg Family Court accompanied by Valérie DUPONG, representing the mother of a boy. Decision that only confirms continuous practices violating children’s rights guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child further exposing institutional parental-gender discrimination of fathers in Luxembourg Family Courts.

The question remains what triggered the mother shortly after start working with Ms. DUPONG to question the relevance of Résidence alternée model the parents have agreed to and had in place for the last 2 years? What made the mother to think it was appropriate and in the best interest of a child to chanage his schedule she agreed to and benefit from for the past 2 years. 

Letters to Bâtonnier François KREMER and Valérie DUPONG

The mentioned decision is just one example of the on-going ideological questioning of the importance of fathers’ presence in children’s lives.

Following numerous reports received from concerned fathers in the last years, FAD – Fathers Against Discrimination a.s.b.l. has reached out to a few well-know children’s attorneys. Those who often represent children during custody proceedings and decide about their future. FAD sent letters informing the mentioning attorneys that we will be closely monitoring their work. Valérie DUPONG was one of them.

As a result of the correspondence in January 2020 FAD received a letter from Bâtonnier François KREMER (Letter – 02.01.2020). Correspondence we can only assume that had intentions to introduce intimidation of some sort. We of course replied to Bâtonnier KREMER in our Letter – 21.01.2020. Considering how important opinion and the work of children’s lawyers during custody proceedings is we also asked the following questions:

  1. What are the requirements to become children’s lawyer in Luxembourg?
  2. Is there a procedure to follow, examination or courses to reach competences that allow a lawyer without proper psychological or pedagogical education to decide what is and what is
  3. not in the best interest of a child?
  4. How are children’s lawyer appointed and mandated to take over a case? Is there a procedure?
  5. Is there a list judges choose from or it is done randomly?

It has been now 10 months and we are still waiting for reply.

FAD – Fathers Against Discrimination a.s.b.l. representing parents, grandparents and Luxembourg children sends congratulations to the newly appointed Bâtonnier Valérie DUPONG. We sincerely hope that Ms. DUPONG will not follow  footsteps of her predecessor Bâtonnier François KREMER, will take off her feminist hat and fulfill obligations of impartiality while holding her new function.

APPENDIX:
Studies confirming  that 50/50 Equal Shared Parenting – Alternating Residence (Résidence alternée) is the model is best for children of divorce:

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