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August 31, 2004

Child’s ties with non-custodial parent must be considered before relocation

Acting Judge SE Weiner found in the Johannesburg High Court that the best interests of the child or children, and not the parent who has custody, have to be considered before relocation.

A Beeld report says that in this case, a mother wanted to move to England with her eight-year-old daughter. Her ex-husband had refused to authorise the move, and the woman went to the High Court. Weiner said that even if the girl's mother made ‘sufficient, fair and satisfactory’ arrangements for the move to England, which would imply the girl would get a proper education, standard of living and way of life, it was not necessarily in the child's best interest.

The court also had to take into account any negative consequences of such a move. In this case (and in all similar cases), one of the most important aspects of a relocation of which the courts should take cognisance is the effect of such a move on the child's ‘close psychological and emotional’ ties with the parent who did not have custody. Read more
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