European policy brief

According to a European policy brief from 2016 concerning the rise of single families in Europe, the impact of stereotypes, and even a biological explanation about equality and the phenomenon of the rising single-father family scene has been discussed. I have selected some meaningful excerpts from this text.

The rise of the one parent families comes with the weakening of the Tradition family form. As also the text explains: “the demise of the traditional family does not mean that social norms on gender have disappeared. Mothers are still expected to bear the biggest burden of parenthood, whether in a relationship or after a separation. Not only is motherhood still supposed to define women’s main identity, but it is still very much associated with ideas of sacrifice, total dedication and altruism. This very unrealistic ideal only leads to women feeling guilty when they do not meet such high expectations. They also explain why, when partners split up, most mothers cannot even contemplate the possibility of having only secondary custody of their children. They fear that if they do, they will be perceived as abnormal and bad mothers. And in practice, the few mothers who make that choice do seem to be very badly judged by society.”

The author recognizes and highlights the influence of stereotypes, urging caution against justifying things based solely on them.

“Therefore, if the traditional couple and family are much less dominant in practice, some of the norms associated to these models are still prevailing, particularly concerning motherhood. A certain equalisation of rights and aspirations partly explain the rise of divorces and separations. But the fact that the care of children still mainly relies on women – whether in a couple or separated – shows that traditional gender expectations are far from having totally subsided.

most essentialists, who do not deny the existence of stereotypes but simply attribute them to more fundamental differences between the sexes.”

Don’t always justify thing on Stereotypes only

“However, even if we acknowledge the existence of dominant norms on motherhood and the way they tend to justify or reinforce particular disadvantages lived by women, this does not mean that gender stereotypes are the actual cause of such disadvantages. The causal link often postulated between these stereotypes and inequalities between women and men is still impossible to prove (or disprove). First of all, if it is possible to identify very general prevailing ideas about the ‘feminine’ and the ‘masculine’, it seems more arduous to establish a clear and detailed list of these norms – all the more so since they appear to vary in time and space. Yet, without being able to clarify exactly what these stereotypes are, it seems difficult to potentially trace – and even harder to measure – their impact on preferences and behaviours”


“However, if this stress on variety does indeed prove the socially constructed dimension of at least part of those stereotypes, it does not prove their actual impact on behaviour and mentalities.

We have to live with stereotypes still for long

The only way to ever identify a list of purely constructed stereotypes on gender would be to raise children of both sexes totally outside society and compare their behaviours in adulthood. Of course, this is not possible in liberal societies. We therefore probably have to accept that this debate is not going to be settled for a long time to come and shift the focus to more socially and politically relevant topics.”

“gender norms tend to justify particular situations of domination but they do not create them”

“Alternative views on gender will be useful and effective only in so far as they trigger mobilisations on the part of the victims of the injustices denounced, and, furthermore, if this involvement leads to concrete political action. (pg.5)”

The continually increasing number of single mothers and single parents, in general, tends to be leveraged politically, leading politicians to promise reforms favoring this demographic.

Under these conditions, I'm adamant about not distinguishing single parents based on gender. There must be a guarantee that reforms will not favor one gender over the other. For example, “respect for family life is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”: The benefit of considering single parenting equal to traditional families serves to enhance the lives of single parents but should not be founded on gender alone.

“A few countries – such as Belgium – have legislated to make shared custody the norm when parents disagree after a separation”

Biological approach

“Besides, the slightly higher level of empathy found in women could be channeled and used in very diverse ways..................... Empathy can be increased by higher levels of some hormones, such as oxytocin and prolactin. These hormones are not solely feminine, contrary to the postulations of many essentialists – they can also be produced by men. But they are higher during pregnancy and after birth. And since women look after children more, they can be heightened even when children grow up. This is not an inevitable fact: men who care about their children produce these ‘attachment hormones’ as well. But in our societies, it is not impossible that the higher level of empathy observed in women could be partly due to their more significant involvement in the care they provide among others to children. Another interesting hypothesis put forward by several authors is that when individuals are in subordinate positions, they tend to develop higher abilities to show empathy (pg.8)”

Acknowledging that single families will significantly influence future political choices, I am determined to ensure that the legal framework governing single families in Europe will be free from stereotypes. This task is particularly formidable, as laws frequently mirror the mindset of the population they seek to regulate.

Even if this goal entails political sacrifice, additional reforms in family law and related legal categories are indispensable. is optimistic, resolute, and convinced that a law can be established without stereotypes, even when overseeing a population swayed by them.

The text endeavors to scrutinize gender disparities in single parenting from various angles, addressing the problem with a realistic approach. It delves into sensitive topics like stereotypes, a daring move, especially in the context of family law. Unfortunately, the text overlooks non-gendered individuals, failing to address the issue in its entirety.

The text acknowledges gender differences, mainly examining contrasting views on child care as perceived by men and women, and how they cope with the solo challenges of raising a child.

What resonates with me the most is the author's focus on stereotypes, which I found to be the most formidable obstacle before, during, and after the custody process.

Custody Case in Albania

One of my very first cases in the prime court of Tirana in 2004 was a pro bono custody case that involved multiple categories of law. At that time, I didn't fully realize that I was experiencing the freedom to use and interpret the law in a unique and valuable way.

My client was a mother of two daughters born out of wedlock who had been sued by their father, who was currently in prison and seeking sole custody. It was clear to me that the father didn't really care about the children, and that his request for custody was just an attempt to get out of prison.

In order to win the case, I needed to prove that the father's request for custody was not legal or was not his real motive. I prepared an expert witness, a psychologist, to confirm that the mother was a fit parent, and we had to go through several court hearings, including two formal ones in front of the judge.

The third hearing was held in a real courtroom, and the plaintiff was escorted to the courthouse by the police. I waited until this hearing to question the plaintiff directly. When I asked him about his daughters' birthdays, he didn't know the answers, which confirmed my suspicion that he didn't really care about the children.

I continue through a series of questions concerning the children and their personalities, the school performance of the eldest daughter, their preferences and childhood choices, I myself was surprised by the total chastity of the plaintiff, finaly, I went on to ask about the legal advantages he would gain by becoming sole custody, which his lawyer objected to as irrelevant. However, my questioning had already made it clear to everyone in the courtroom that the plaintiff's lawsuit was not really about the welfare of the children, but about his own self-interest.

In my written conclusions, I explained the real reason for the lawsuit, and the judge ultimately rejected the father's request for custody and allowed the children to remain with their mother.

Looking back on this case, I realize that I wasn't fully prepared for it. I could have asked more questions, such as why the father had never married my client, whether he had recognized the children as his, and whether he saw them regularly. Nonetheless, this case taught me the value of interpreting the law in a free system and the importance of fighting for what is right.

Being a Lawyer in Albania

I had the privilege of living the adventure of a lifetime in Albania, where I pursued a career in law. It turned out to be an incredibly valuable experience, even more than I had anticipated. Despite the corruption that pervaded the legal system in Albania, my team and I took our work very seriously and dove deep into the intricacies of the law.

In Albania, corruption was often viewed differently than in other countries. Giving money to someone to get something done was not necessarily considered an immoral act. Instead, it was seen as a sign of respect for that person's work. Corrupt judges would support lawyers who paid them, but they would not compromise the law. And even in a corrupted court hearing, the core of winning a case was still the same as in any other legal system - it required meticulous preparation, the collection of all relevant facts and legal acts, and the ability to present and interpret the case in the most favorable way for the client.

Our work was intense and demanding. We often worked late into the night, scouring through legal acts and documents to ensure the best defense for our clients. We tackled penal and civil cases, as well as property and family law cases, leaving no stone unturned in our search for the truth. And every morning, we went to court, ready to represent our clients in two or three hearings a day. Our mission was to pursue justice relentlessly, without any limits.

Custody Case in Germany

Limiting the use of arguments during a court hearing process would be against the base principle of free defense, but what if most lawyers and judges choose to work only with a limited number of law directions? In some jurisdictions, open cases in interaction, are put on standby to avoid conflicts, and penal cases are prioritized before civil rights cases.

The law is formed through basic principles that are always developed and adjusted to the current cultural and social level. However, what is happening now is a limitation of the law translated as development. Limiting the law means limiting the right to free judgment.

In a custody case, the law would judge and decide on the ability of an abusive parent to raise children without taking into consideration the abuse case in the past. Not because the law believes that the parent has changed, but to prove that they are not responsible enough to raise their children. The court requires an official answer about the parent's ability to care for their children, which may involve reexamining their violent behavior. However, this system forgets that the main subject of the case is the children. They are carried from one psychologist to another, visit court hearings, get weekly visits from the youth service in their home, and are scrutinized by their teachers, neighbors, and friends' parents. All of this is to prove that the parent is not able to have custody. The previous criminal behavior of the parent, even those involving minors, is put on standby, as if nothing happened before, just to get a hearing where the judge may decide only on the person's ability to raise their children.

Is this good for the children?

What if the abusive parent is the father?

How many principles are trampled on in modern custody cases?

In a general way, the collateral gain and loss of a law procedure are not yet fully considered in modern law. A party using their right for a legal remedy is unquestionable, but it is not considered that this can be used for time-winning for the abusive parent before losing custody. The Principle of Neutrality applied to modern law cases leaves this fact out of the arguments that could be used in such a case.

A child cannot be left without custody or put in protected custody just to serve a long proving procedure. In fact, fathers' custody requests in Germany end after the child enters adulthood. Keeping custody cases that long only serves the professionals who are mainly paid by the state, the parent whose custody rights are under dispute, but not the children who need protection.

In penal cases, there is an active representation of the state or justice from the procurator. In family cases, there are professionals present, such as psychologists and children's educators, and the youth welfare office, who are an essential part of the hearing but do not have law education.

Should the state have a part in such a hearing, considering that the state pays for all this? Should the state be represented by an attorney or any institution? Ensuring not only the presence of the state but also serving justice and connecting different cases in interaction, spotting out all the hidden arguments that law professionals with "blinkers" cannot spot out, and filling up the law knowledge gap due to the essential disadvantage of law professions during the court hearing.


Principle of Neutrality

In Germany, where illusional freedom prevails, law professions that are supposed to have the freedom of movement to pursue their mission, also face limitations due to the application of the principle of neutrality. Civil or panel law cannot stand on its own without procedure rules or procedure codes. In some law systems, family law is part of civil law. Modern lawyers tend to specialize in a particular direction, such as "family lawyer" or "property lawyer." In such a system, the neutrality of the law is applied inherently, without specific rules. Lawyers who choose to specialize in a particular area of law must ensure that no interactions with other law directions may occur during their career.


In Germany and many modern law systems, a request for child custody according to family law, from a person who has shown criminal activity, should not be an issue in the custody request. This means that even a mother who has committed crimes, including those involving underage people, and who persistently seeks custody of her abused children, still has the right to an impartial child custody hearing.


While the right to start any legal case or submit any legal remedy must be ensured for everyone, this can be difficult when there are interactions with other open cases. For example, a judge of the family court cannot ensure a free judgment about a child custody request if they are constantly interrupted by a criminal case petition during the hearing. The core issue is to allow the judge to work exclusively on their case. However, does this mean that an abusive parent should get an impartial hearing about their custody request without any consideration of their criminal behavior?

The Integration

Individuals tend to construct their own perception of the world, based on their personal beliefs and values. Their level of satisfaction with the world is often tied to this perception. People receive guidance on how to view the world from various sources, such as school, family, and social environment, and these teachings become deeply ingrained in their thinking. As a result, they tend to view everything through a personal filter, and silently judge it against their preconceived notions.

In Germany, it is customary for individuals to participate in upholding the rule of law, which is integral to maintaining social stability. Anyone can report violations of rules or laws to demonstrate their commitment to the society, the system, and the rules. This often serves as a means for people to feel a sense of belonging and responsibility towards upholding societal norms.
Germany should be a paradise for emigrating from pure countries. The rules in Germany are strict but simple, follow the rules, sacrifice what is required to sacrifice, and you will never feel pure anymore!

In Germany, the term "not pure" refers to individuals who can afford to pay exorbitant rent, dine out sometimes, and work no more than 40 hours per week, often lacking any aspirations beyond their current job position. These individuals are typically compliant and respectful towards the company they work for and raise children who are conditioned to conform to societal norms.

Thus far, there has been no criticism of the system's functioning, as its aim is to maintain public satisfaction, prevent conflicts, and limit high aspirations. This objective is achieved by imposing a particular way of life upon the populace, thereby creating an illusion of freedom and contentment. Communist regimes create an illusion of equality, while the modern Western world propagates the illusion of freedom.

In Germany, getting a parking fine because of an incorrect parking position is quite common, as any ordinary citizen can report such violations by taking a picture and submitting it to the authorities. This heightened sense of responsibility toward maintaining a well-functioning society often leads to an excessive adherence to rules and regulations. For instance, I once had to stop my car in a prohibited area for a brief moment to drop off my pregnant girlfriend at the doctor's office. Despite it only takes five minutes, I received two photos from passersby who had reported my vehicle's incorrect parking position to the authorities. These individuals were oblivious to the fact that I had stopped to assist my pregnant partner, choosing instead to demonstrate their loyalty to the system.

Customary law in Albania

From the very beginning, I often heard about the concept of "zhakonet" or "tradita," which refers to tradition in Albania. It's surprising that such an essential aspect of local culture can be described with just two words, lacking a proper classification system.

These words are used to describe daily, weekly, or monthly customs, how people celebrate, how they live their lives, and how they begin or end certain activities. Even the term related to customary law includes the word "zhakone," which has the same meaning as "tradita" but with a more formal character. Nevertheless, it is commonly used in daily language (zhakone, zhakona) when referring to something traditional or a customary practice.

Personally, I've never been fascinated by traditions in any place, and the more people refer to tradition to justify their actions, the more I tend to dislike them. However, it's a fact that traditions have played a significant role in Albanian history, making them the strongest law in the land!

Every person in Albania, regardless of their independence or success, follows some form of tradition and values the opinions of their community. It's disappointing to see how deeply rooted some people are in their traditions, leading me to question their ability to break free from traditional norms and think independently.