Central Authority v. B 2009 (1) SA 624 (W)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The proceedings concerned a child born in October 2004 in the United States of America to a South African mother and an American mother. The parents were married and the family lived in Illinois, United States of America, until the mother took the child to South Africa on 13 May 2006. The reasons for the mother returning to her home country were the subject of dispute, though the trial Court found that there were “clear indications of an unhappy marriage relationship”.
In April and June 2007, the father sought legal advice in the United States of America, but was not informed of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. In August 2007, the father travelled to South Africa to see his daughter. After several visits, the parents argued and the father then obtained an interim access order.
On 8 September 2007, the father notified the United States of America Central Authority, which filed a return request on 23 April 2008. On 16 May 2008, the Family Advocate interviewed the mother who refused to return the child voluntarily.
The Family Advocate then enrolled the return application for hearing in the urgent court. It was subsequently held by Jajbhay J. that the application was not urgent and it was placed on the ordinary opposed motion roll for one month later.