Kerala HC rules child must receive love, support from both parents

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Kochi, May 29 (IANS) A division bench of the Kerala High Court has said that it is in the best interest of the child to receive love and support from both parents unless proven that one parent is unworthy of custodial rights.

The court while considering a matrimonial appeal first interacted with the minor child (an 11-year-old girl) and found that she had no issues spending time with her father.

It then ruled, “While the court’s duty and responsibility in custody disputes is to ensure that both parents maintain a healthy relationship with the child. Non-custodial parents should have sufficient visitation rights to prevent the child from losing social, physical, and psychological contact with either parent. Only in extreme circumstances should one parent be denied contact, and reasons must be clearly stated if this occurs. Courts are responsible for defining the nature, manner, and specifics of visitation rights to safeguard the child’s continuous connection with both parents. The child’s need for both parents’ company takes precedence over the individual rights of the parents. In assessing custody, the court distinguishes between the child’s wishes and what is genuinely in the child’s best interest, taking into account all relevant circumstances,” said the court.

The court thus upheld the Family Court’s order of granting visitation and contact rights to the father of the girl besides affirming the overnight custody given to him, who is in the Merchant Navy, for a few days during vacations and during his leave.

Incidentally, it was the mother of the child who approached the High Court after being upset by the Family Court’s decision in the overnight custody rights given to the father, as she pointed out that the child’s emotional and mental well-being will be affected by the execution of the Family Court’s order.

But the child’s father submitted that the daughter is entitled to the love, care and protection of both the parents and argued that the mother has no justifiable reasons to refuse custody rights to the father.

The High Court after going through all aspects pointed out that a child requires love, affection, and company of both parents, which is a basic human right for the child.

The court further pointed out that children facing parental conflicts could have detrimental effects and long-lasting psychological effects.

“Such action of the fighting parents is unhealthy and deplorable, as it undermines the child’s sense of security and stability, fostering feelings of confusion, guilt, and emotional distress. The child who becomes embroiled in parental conflicts suffers long-lasting psychological effects. It is crucial for parents to recognise the detrimental impact of their disputes on their children and strive to present a united front, prioritizing the child’s need for love and support from both parents,” ruled the court and the matrimonial appeal was dismissed.



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