A Cape Town mother has lost the legal battle to stop her children from being sent to Thailand where she has been ordered to share custody with her ex-husband.
Neither the woman nor her British ex-husband can be named so as to protect the identity of their three children.
When they got married in February 2007, the couple were already a blended family with children from previous relationships and then later had three children together. The couple have an 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
The family have lived in South Africa, the UK and Singapore before they settled in Thailand where the Cape Town woman’s husband worked for a private hospital group.
It was here that their relationship broke down and they divorced, but she decided to return to Cape Town, claiming harassment at the hands of her ex-husband which he has vehemently denied.
The children’s father, through various local state agencies including the department of social development, then brought an application to the Western Cape High Court to have the three minors returned to Thailand.
On Tuesday Judge Sieraj Desai ordered: “(the children) shall be returned to the Kingdom of Thailand in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”) and incorporated into the Children’s Act 38 of 2005…”
The distraught mother said she would appeal what she believes was tantamount to the deportation of her children from South Africa.
In the court order, allowances are made for her to return to Thailand with the children and her ex-husband has to pay for all costs incurred as well as financially support the entire family.
The mother has repeated claims that she was mentally harassed by her ex-husband and that he sexually abused their daughter who was 8 years old at the time and that he was grooming her son.
She said: “The court did not make a ruling on the allegations of abuse, but only that Thailand is the habitual residence of the children… all the allegations made by me have to still be heard in court.”
The Cape Town mother maintains that her children have been traumatised by her ex husband and have no desire to see him.
Speaking from Thailand, following the court order; the British father has rubbished these claims of abuse and said: “I feel happy that I have been provided great support from both the Thai and the South African governments.
“I feel that the South African court system has acted in the best interests of the children, they have followed the law.”
He added: “They have clearly reviewed the evidence, the facts that I presented to them and they’ve realised that there is significant levels of parental alienation and a lot of lies in the information that the mother has supplied to the court.”
The three children remain caught in the middle of the legal battles between their parents.
The Cape Town woman has vowed to exhaust every legal avenue available to stop her children from returning to Thailand. Her ex-husband said he wanted a relationship with his children, and was hopeful he would be reunited with them soon, after not being able to see them since they left Thailand two years ago.
The children’s father has also committed to supporting them in Thailand which includes making sure that they get psychotherapy and continue with their homeschooling as ordered by the Western Cape High Court.