A father’s application for his teenage daughter to live with him is “utterly devoid of any discernible merit”, the Family Court has ruled.
In SA v BO, the Nigerian father sought a court order which would compel his 16 year-old daughter, ‘A’, to leave her mother’s house and move in with him. Despite the fact that he had not seen her in person for over three years, he believed he could take better care of A than her mother.
He claimed that A was “not being sufficiently exposed to her paternal heritage and culture” while living with her mother and stepfather. He also maintained that, as a consultant for a Leeds hospital, he would be able to provide his daughter with “significantly greater material advantages and intellectual stimulation”.
Sitting at the Chelmsford County Court, His Honour Judge Lochrane noted that the father was “clearly a man of considerable intellect” but unfortunately one side effect of this was “a fairly low opinion of what [the mother can] provide for A”.
However, his daughter objected to the application. She claimed that every time she had spent time with him, she felt homesick and had been “very distressed”. A said that she “did not have any concerns about her paternal cultural identity being inadequately supported” and that her father made her feel very anxious.
Judge Lochrane concluded that A would likely suffer “emotional trauma” if she was forced to live with her father and would certainly not go willingly. He added that the father putting his daughter through these proceedings “demonstrated in a very stark way just how deficient his parenting is, and is likely to remain”.
The judge said that the mother’s inability to provide as many material benefits as the father was “a very dubious disadvantage”, especially as A was “evidently being supported on her journey into young adulthood”.
He said that the father’s application would be “positively harmful to this young person” if granted and “unhesitatingly” refused to make any orders.
To read the judgment in full, click here.
Photo of Chelmsford by Andrew Reid Wildman via Flickr