Ruling a wake-up call for warring parents
There was a significant court ruling recently that should serve as a warning to parents who use their children as pawns in their battles with each other.
In this case, a mother is facing the threat of prison if she continues blocking her ex-husband’s attempts to see their three children.
The Sunday Times reported that the woman repeatedly defied court orders instructing her to grant him access to the children and did everything to frustrate the process.
However, should she continue to obstruct the father’s access, she will spend weekends between 8am and 5pm at Pollsmoor Prison for a year, according to the court ruling.
The man’s lawyer detailed the lengths the father had gone to in a bid to see his 11-year-old and twins, aged four.
His first in-person contact with the children since December 2020 was in July.
Weekly contact sessions continued until November, when the woman “unilaterally and unlawfully” terminated his contact again, without consulting any of the professionals involved.
The father launched an urgent application, which was heard in the first week of December, and the court ruled in his favour.
Shortly afterwards, a social worker tried to arrange a visit but the mother ignored the request.
The woman continued her obstructive tactics and the man eventually sued her for contempt of court.
She was found guilty on three counts.
“It was clear that the mother continued to do just as she pleased,” the lawyer said.
“In a clear utter disregard for the father’s rights or the orders of the court, she [days after the visitation request] left on holiday and took the children away with her, without discussion with the father or any of the professionals, and without a letter to the father’s attorneys.”
Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but especially the children.
Though some parents manage to make the marital break without straining or breaking the parental bonds, others use their children to manipulate or extort their former partners.
We hope this judgment serves to temper the actions of mothers or fathers who use their children to gain the upper hand in their fights against each other.
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