Litigation: 'Good' or 'bad' parents, not the issue – judge

In matters involving custody of children, parents bad-mouth each other in court to try to prove that they are ‘good’. But ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parents should never be used as an argument, as it's always only about the best interest of the child. A Pretoria News report notes that this is according to a judge, who said the courts were tired of mothers and fathers (and their lawyers) each trying to paint a dark picture of the other in a bid to convince the courts that they were the best parent.

Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Judge SJ Wilson was ruling in a matter brought by an angry father who wanted sole custody over his toddler daughter. The man had such strong words regarding his estranged wife’s conduct, that the judge said he chose not to repeat them. Both parents are recovering drug addicts who met in a rehabilitation facility. The father sued for custody after the mother took their child and moved in with another man. The father objected to his child living there, especially as he claimed the mother still used drugs and her new lover abused cannabis. Wilson said that the mother’s history of addiction and her lack of practical, reliable support lessened her ability to provide a stable environment for the child. The court found that as the father had stable employment and his parents would help him care for the child, she should live with him until the Family Advocate’s office had investigated both parents and advised the court further.

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