The full bench of the high court in Johannesburg has ordered that two children born of a marriage between a Norwegian father and a South African mother be returned to Norway.
The couple met during the 2010 Soccer World Cup event that was hosted by South Africa.
They married in 2011 in Johannesburg‚ and two boys were born in Johannesburg in November 2011 and April 2014.
During 2013‚ the family relocated to Oslo but the family visited Johannesburg regularly.
They stayed in a house in Parktown North which the man had donated to his wife in terms of their ante-nuptial contract.
On March 15[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2015‚ the family travelled to South Africa at the request of the woman. She wanted to visit her sick mother‚ who was undergoing a medical procedure.
The family would have returned to Oslo after the grandmother’s medical procedures. Return flight tickets for the four family members were purchased.
The father returned to Norway on March 18‚ but before he could travel out of the country‚ he was detained by the guards at a Gautrain station. This was for the sheriff to serve him with divorce summons.
The man returned to Oslo and launched proceedings for the immediate return of the children to their “habitual residence”. Judge Ramarumo Monama granted the order.
However the woman appealed‚ based on the fact that the man had consented to the removal of the children to South Africa.
The full bench of the high court did not agree with her claim. It said the children were registered in the Norwegian peoples’ registry and were Norwegian citizens.
Both boys received child welfare benefits‚ which are granted to residents only in terms of the Norwegian Children’s Act.
“The institution of a divorce action in Norway by the [father] as well as the institution of The Hague proceedings there 18 days after his return to Oslo claiming that the children should be returned to Oslo contradict any suggestion that he agreed to or acquiesced to the children remaining in South Africa.”
The court said counsel for the woman conceded that she acted deviously and surreptitiously when she brought the children to South African with the intention of staying here and not returning to Oslo.
The woman was ordered to pay the costs of the appeal.
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