Cape Town - A father’s application to bring his 3-year-old son with special needs back to Cape Town after the mother relocated with him to Gauteng for work, has failed in the Western Cape High Court.
The parents are going through a divorce, following a “regrettable domestic violence incident” over a year ago, according to court papers.
The father made a high court application for an order for the mother, who currently resides in Gauteng after accepting a new job opportunity, to return their minor child to him, with or without the mother.
The child was born with a rare genetic disorder characterised by skeletal abnormalities, dysmorphic facial features, growth retardation and developmental delay.
The mother and her child left their former home, and she subsequently obtained an interim protection order against her estranged husband.
Since their separation, the minor child has remained in the woman’s primary care and has had supervised contact visits with the father.
After an order for maintenance was made, pending the outcome of the divorce, the woman found another job.
According to the court documents, the father had no formal stable employment.
He received a monthly stipend from his parents after a property was sold and monthly instalments were received.
However, the property has now been paid for and he will no longer receive that amount from his parents.
“A few months after (the maintenance order) was granted, the respondent experienced difficulties with her erstwhile employer because she missed more than a month’s work due to their minor child’s medical condition.
“The medical condition of their minor child placed severe strain on and complicated the respondent’s working relationship with her erstwhile employer.
“This situation was exacerbated because the respondent had to facilitate supervised access by the applicant to their minor child.
“This is by transporting him to and from his contact sessions with the applicant.
“The respondent was presented with an ultimatum by her erstwhile employer to strictly adhere to her employment terms, which meant that she would no longer have any flexibility in her working hours.
“Faced with the possibility of being unable to meet her monthly financial obligations and having no funds to care for her minor child, she relocated with her minor child,” the judgment read.
The financial responsibility of maintaining the minor child, further exacerbated by the demands for the medical requirements, fell almost exclusively on the mother.
Judge Derek Wille delivered a lengthy order after dismissing the father’s application and granting the mother’s relocation.