Court rules against dad — daughter to spend holidays in America with mom and new husband

Published Mar 24, 2024


A Pretoria man, who didn’t want his 13-year-old daughter to travel with her mother and new husband, was informed that his consent was not necessary for the daughter to travel to America.

The mother wished to travel to America with her daughter from March 18, to April 7.

Going on the trip means the daughter will miss five days of school, a school netball tournament, and the North Gauteng netball trials.

In addition, she will also miss extra-mural activities like netball, tennis and horse-riding lessons.

Her father said he was concerned that their daughter will miss all these activities, especially the netball tournament.

He refused to sign a consent form that would allow her to travel to the US, adding that he was acting in the best interest of the child.

He further added that he doesn’t believe his daughter would want to miss the netball tournament.

Frustrated, the mother approached the High Court in Pretoria on an urgent basis.

In her application, she stated that she made bookings for the trip in December 2023 and did not expect that the father would refuse to give consent.

She said in preparation for the trip, she met with school officials to make the necessary arrangements for their daughter.

The mother also obtained assurances from those officials to the effect that their daughter would not be jeopardised by missing for five days.

On January 19, she gave her daughter a consent form to give to her father to sign. However, when she fetched her daughter, she realised that the form had not been signed.

The father placed various conditions upon which he may consider giving the necessary consent.

A barrage of correspondence was exchanged in an attempt to resolve the impasse. The former couple could not reach an agreement.

The mother said the father was unreasonable as the school had already stated that the five days of absenteeism would not cause any harm.

After assessing both arguments, Judge Graham Moshoana said as much as the daughter was still underage, she was old enough to independently express her views.

“Generally, children enjoy travelling to places they have never been, and if the places are overseas, the enjoyment is accelerated,” he said.

The judge said that the decision to withhold consent was not an informed one and it was also unreasonable.

“The conclusion to reach is that the father withheld the necessary consent unreasonably, and as a result, there exists a sufficient legal basis for this court to direct that his consent is not necessary for the departure of the daughter to the USA,” said Moshoana.

Moshoana further ordered the husband to pay the costs of the application.