CF v SG [2022] ZAWCHC 204

CLOETE J

20 October 2022

Children

Mother seeking to relocate to the UK with the child – Parents in acrimonious relationship

The applicant (mother) was schooled in the UK and studied and worked there. She met the respondent (father) when she returned to South African. She moved in with him and they started a business together. They had interpersonal difficulties and applicant moved out when their daughter was 8 weeks old. Acrimonious legal proceedings followed.

Application: Applicant seeks the court’s leave to relocate to the UK with the daughter, M.

Discussion: That the father has only exercised supervised contact with M; the mother and father are unable to communicate meaningfully; the experts’ opinions on the parents and the allegations against each other; the father’s alcohol dependency and autism diagnosis; the conclusion by one of the experts that the mother seeks to relocate to the UK for the sole purpose of taking M as far away from the father as possible; and another expert’s opinion that the longer the mother remains in South Africa the more traumatised she becomes, that the father has a profound negative impact on the mother’s wellbeing, that if the mother stays longer the young child will become more aware and detrimentally affected by the stress and emotional preoccupation of her parents as well as the conflict between them, and that co-parenting and joint decision making is highly likely to result in ongoing legal intervention and lengthy and costly stalemates.

Findings: It is clearly in M’s best interests that the mother be allowed to relocate with her.

Order: The mother is granted leave to remove the minor child, M, from South Africa and to relocate with her to the United Kingdom.

CLOETE J