Our courts have a duty to place the best interest of children first. Unfortunately, this is not always a duty parents take seriously with some often letting personal feelings get in the way and using their kids as pawns in their ongoing battles with their exes.
The Pretoria High Court sent a strong message today that this behaviour is unacceptable, by sentencing a mother to 30 days in jail for denying her ex-husband access to their 3-year-old. The punishment was suspended for five years, as long as the mother allowed her ex-husband access.
In 2011, the mom and her ex entered into a divorce settlement agreement, which was made a binding order of court. They agreed that the child’s dad could see his son every second weekend and during holidays, but despite attempts to exercise his right, the mother outright refused. Consequently, the mother was found to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with the order.
Judge Peter Mabuse reasoned that “it is humanly incomprehensible why one parent would deny the other parent the right to access to their child. In my view, a parent should encourage frequent contact between their children and parents”.
The court added that there was no justifiable reason, in this particular case, for the mother to have refused the father access to his child and the mother had to comply with the court order. “The mother should have cleared up any uncertainty she had about the contents of the agreement with her lawyers, before signing it. Failure to do so demonstrated her unwillingness to comply” added Mabuse.
We’ve also taken a look a The Dangers of Parenting in the Digital Age.