Gay father gains custody of his ‘neglected’ sons

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A gay doctor in South Africa has been in court trying to obtain custody of his two sons so that they could live with him and his gay partner.

The doctor, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, has been granted temporary custody of his children by the Johannesburg High Court last week. Judge Mohammed Jajbhay ordered that the doctor get temporary custody pending investigations by a family advocate.

The general practitioner had argued in court papers that his former wife, a clinical psychologist, had wanted to remove the boys from him was because he was gay and living with his life partner.

He contended that his ex-wife was not a good parent to their sons, and that during their marriage she had abused him emotionally and financially. She often referred to their firstborn child as ‘his’ child and constantly maintained that the second child was mentally unstable.

She would force the 12-year-old to attend therapy sessions by psychiatrists, the doctor told The Star .

The doctor stated that, during their 14-year marriage, his ex-wife led an expensive lifestyle and would often move the family into more elite areas which financially taxed him.

She had then begun accusing him of having extra-marital affairs and became very unsociable and ‘blatantly rude’ to any friends that the doctor would bring home.

After their divorce in March 2003, his ex-wife refused him joint custody of the boys. “I was devastated to leave the children … I missed the children terribly,” he explained.

In mid-2003 the doctor lost his job for a while and was unable to pay full maintenance. “The children advised me that the respondent would not allow them to drink coffee at home, telling them I had not paid her enough money,” he said of his ex-wife.

However, by 2004 his ex-wife had decided that the boys should live with their father and his partner.

“It was clear to me, while exercising access to the children, that they were neglected while living with the respondent. Their clothes were always untidy, they would not brush their teeth or worry about their personal hygiene,” he elaborated.

Last month, the children’s mother showed up at his house, declaring that she wanted to take the children back. “I enquired from her why she wanted to take the children away, especially in the light of the fact that they were in a stable environment and are happy with their lives. The respondent then alleged that she is concerned about the safety and emotional wellbeing of the children. I can only surmise that this was a thinly veiled attack on my homosexual lifestyle.”