Divorce case ends in unusual living arrangements for child

Divorce case ends in unusual living arrangements for child

A boy's refusal to live with his mother, whom he blamed for his parents' divorce, has led a judge to order an unusual living arrangement.

District Judge Regina Ow-Chang ruled that the 13-year-old will spend every week from Sunday afternoon to Friday evening with his father and live the other days with his mother.

This is to stop the boy's relationship with his mother from deteriorating further, she said.

The judge also had harsh words for the way his parents, who are appealing against the custody decision, made the child a pawn in their divorce.

"This is a sad and disturbing case where parties had been so caught up in their conflicts that the child had become a hapless victim of their marital war," she said in judgment grounds released last week. "This had resulted in him becoming an angry, obstinate and confused teenager."

The boy may have rejected living with his mother, going so far as to go to the police, yet cried during counselling sessions with her.

He blamed his mother for having a boyfriend, yet accepted his father having a mistress while still married, the judge pointed out.

The couple were married in 1999 and divorced last year after living apart for three years. Both fought to gain custody of their child.

The mother's lawyer K. Mathialahan argued how she was the primary caregiver for the first 11 years of his life, giving both financial and emotional support.

But the father's lawyer Jeyabalen disputed this, claiming the mother preferred to spend time with her boyfriend and treated their child as an errand boy.

The boy has not seen his mother since April last year other than one session in May. Five other such sessions were cancelled after the child refused to see her.

The boy made police reports whenever it was time to see his mother through these arrangements.

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