A COURT has denied the former wife of a rich City financier all access to their three children after she was found to be turning them against him.
In an extraordinary ruling, the woman, who was also judged to be too indulgent a parent, has been legally barred from seeing her children for three years. She was jailed for approaching one of them in the street and telling him she loved him in breach of a court order. She is facing a possible return to jail this summer for posting a video about her plight on the internet.
The woman judge presiding over the case justified banning contact between the mother and her children because they were being placed in “an intolerable situation of conflict of loyalties resulting in them suffering serious emotional harm”.
During supervised visits with her, the children made serious allegations about their father which were later shown to be unfounded. Social workers believed the mother was either prompting them to make the claims or they were saying them just to please her.
A psychiatrist who assessed the case said the mother “loved her children” but had harmed their development by trying to be always “available” to them.
The judge said she had “serious concern about [the mother] infantilising the children, encouraging them to make complaints about the father and encouraging them to want to take an inappropriate part in these proceedings”.
The mother breached an injunction excluding her from her children’s lives by approaching her son in public. She also sent texts to her former husband, including one saying she was sorry. Another said she would do whatever he wanted to get access. She was sentenced to a month in prison.
Custody cases are messy, and it's not unheard of that children, confused, make unfounded allegations against one parent, or even that angry parents seek to influence their children against the other party. But this is the kind of dysfunction that merits court-mandated parenting classes or restricted, supervised visits. Surely it doesn't merit removing all access to the children.
"The woman judge presiding over the case justified banning contact between the mother and her children because they were being placed in “an intolerable situation of conflict of loyalties resulting in them suffering serious emotional harm”."
That's called divorce: there will be conflict of loyalties. The role of both parents and the courts is to minimize the harm caused by this conflict, not to place all blame with one party and imprison her. And if she was suffering post-partum depression that, according to her, contributed to the unfolding of these events, then she ought not to have been punished for it, but rather supported through it along with her family. If there was a court order in place barring access to the children, and it was breached, then this mother has to accept responsibility for that, and one might argue that she knew the consequences of not adhering to the law, and contacted the children anyway. But to spend a month in jail for telling her son she loved him, and to face further jail time for posting a video on the internet? Something about this does not sit right with me.
"A psychiatrist who assessed the case said the mother “loved her children” but had harmed their development by trying to be always “available” to them."
That devil woman. I think that at worst, when I picture the most exaggerated incarnation of who this woman might be, I see someone in need of some psychiatric attention and help with parenting. But absent other details, it seems like three years' removal from her children is a bit of overkill. Still, I have not reproduced. So maybe I'm missing some analytical skill that from the point of view of the other parent, would deem this ruling a fair one. I submit myself to your enlightenment.
Read an article containing more details and an interview with the mother here.