Family: Court stops mother taking child to Dubai

A father has won a battle to stop his ex-wife from relocating to Dubai with their daughter (11), says a report in The Star. Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) Judge David Makhoba ruled that evidence before him did not favour the mother’s application. The mother, who divorced the father in 2014, sought to relocate with the child – identified as L – to Dubai to join her new husband. The daughter lived with her mother based on a primary residency agreement reached after divorce. The father remained involved in her life and took her over as per the joint-parenting plan.

It became common cause before Makhoba that L was close to both her parents and the immediate extended family members. Makhoba found the mother did not make a case about how L’s relationship with her father would be protected if she relocated. It did not help the mother’s cause that L expressed a wish not to relocate to Dubai. She revealed this in a letter she wrote to seek Legal Aid to participate in the case. ‘The letter which indicates L’s unwillingness to relocate to Dubai cannot be ignored by this court. I am obliged to take it into account,’ said Makhoba. ‘Considering all the evidence before me, including the letter by L to Legal Aid, I am of the view that it will not be in L’s best interest to relocate with the applicant to Dubai.' The judge noted there was no proper arrangement between the parties as to how the respondent would maintain contact with L and who would finance the trips to and from Dubai. 'It is not stated what will happen should the mother fail to bring L to SA during school holidays. It is obvious that once L leaves SA, the respondent cannot enforce a South African court order in Dubai,’ Makhoba said, adding the court had a duty to safeguard the father’s rights.

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