Mother ordered to divulge child's whereabouts to husband
A mother who is hiding her son from her estranged husband – apparently because she and the husband’s new girlfriend had a tiff on Facebook – will face 45 days in prison if she does not immediately divulge to the husband where the child is.
A Pretoria News report says the father turned to the Limpopo High Court (Polokwane) for an order to hold the mother in contempt of court.
While the parties are embroiled in divorce proceedings, a court last year ordered that the parents, for now, have joint custody and parental responsibilities towards the child.
The father said he last saw his child at the end of April, as his wife had moved him to an undisclosed location. He said this was to spite him as she and his girlfriend had exchanged harsh words on Facebook.
Besides asking that his wife be imprisoned for contempt of court, the father also asked for an order imposing a fine of R75 000 on her and a further R1 000 a day for each day she refused to allow him to see their child.
But Judge Maake Kganyago imposed the prison sentence only.
He issued a warrant for her arrest and ordered that it would be executed if she did not immediately return the child.
Kganyago said all the issues were triggered by the response which the wife got from the girlfriend, as she was aware that she and the husband were living together and previously had no problem with it.
‘In my view, the respondent (wife) had a problem with the applicant’s girlfriend and is using the minor child to punish the applicant for the deeds of his girlfriend, which makes her action to be mala fide. The respondent was therefore acting wilfully and with malice in refusing the applicant access to his minor child,’ the judge said.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.