Western Cape High Court Judge Judy Cloete has ordered a couple’s 10-year-old twins must stay in SA with their mother, rather than moving to the UK with their father.

The children said they had such a good time during a two-week holiday in the UK that they would not mind living there.

However, Cloete said the children might be disappointed by this decision, particularly given their fantasy view of life in the UK.

‘But I am persuaded that, as difficult as this is, it is the correct one to make.’

Pretoria News report says the father is British and the mother a Zimbabwean national. They, together with the children, have permanent residence in SA. The parents are no longer together and the father decided to go and work in Manchester.

He has been there for a while now, working, but he wants his children to join him.

As the mother does not want her children to move to the UK with their father, he turned to the court for an order allowing him to take the children to live there with him and his fiancée.

In turning down his application, Cloete voiced several concerns about them relocating, and said a two-week fun holiday in another country was a lot different from the realities of living there – especially without their mother.

According to the Pretoria News, Cloete said: ‘That the children have a fantasy idea about life in the UK, based solely on a two-week fun holiday, is evident. Children’s voices must of course be heard, but they must equally be considered in context when evaluating the weight to be attached to them.’

She added it was apparent that neither of these children had the slightest comprehension of what it would be like to live permanently in a strange country thousands of kilometres away from their mother, with extremely limited contact at best.

She said there was also simply no assurance that the father would not up and move again.

If a relocation was permitted, this would have the potential consequence that the children would be uprooted elsewhere with absolutely no guarantee of regular contact with the mother, the judge said in turning down the father’s application.

Full Pretoria News report in The Star

Judgment