Want rights to see your children? Change your behaviour, Nakuru court tells woman

Court directed that the legal custody of the minors shall jointly vest in the man and woman. [iStockphoto]

A woman’s change of behaviour will determine if she will have prolonged access to her twin daughters whose custody, care, and control is vested in their father.

The woman, attached to the Public Service Commission office has since been granted limited access to the girls aged nine. Court documents indicate that she has access to the minors on alternate weekends on Saturdays from 9 to 4 PM.

“Further orders on expanded access to be made upon the filing of another children officer’s report underscoring the defendant (woman’s) change of behaviour and confirmation of her place of abode,” read part of a court order issued by Nairobi Senior Resident Magistrate Festus Terer on August 4.

Mr Terer issued the orders following a suit filed by the minors’ father on January 10. The man, a clinical officer at a hospital in Nairobi sought to be granted legal and actual custody, care, and control of the minors. He also wanted the woman barred from removing the minors from his custody. The man also wanted the court to order a shared parental responsibility.

The man claims he lived with the woman peacefully until the year 2016 when she started portraying weird and unwelcoming behaviours. He said the woman engaged in extra-marital affairs with people known to him, a matter they later resolved.

He said, in 2018 when he had travelled to Malaysia for a week, the woman embarked on her romantic relationship with the same man who is a police officer. He said the situation worsened in 2019 when she would invite the said lover to the matrimonial house.

The man indicated that when he confronted the woman, she fled to her brother’s home. He however forgave her and welcomed her home after several requests from her and interventions from her sister. He said he single-handedly provided for the minors despite the woman working.

Being a clinical officer and working night shifts at times, the woman he said took advantage of his schedule and took his lover to their matrimonial house even in the presence of the minors. He said the woman once took her lover to their matrimonial home thinking he was on night shift only to meet him.

“She introduced the said lover to the minors, especially on weekends where she would drive to the lover’s residence with the minors,” he stated.

The man told the court that on December 7, 2021, as he was driving along Thika road, he spotted the woman’s car. He drove next to it and realized it was being driven by the woman’s lover while she was seated at the co-driver’s seat while they were holding hands. He said when the two noticed his presence they fled off.

He said the woman has never gone back to see the children and has been living with the said lover.

The woman in her defence opposed the claims by the man. She claimed the man has on several occasions physically and sexually assaulted her. He accused the man of committing adultery. The man she said is insecure and had befriended her colleagues in all her workstations for purposes of spying on her.

She said the man on December 7, 2021, called warning her not to set foot at home on allegations on allegations that she allowed another man into their car.

She noted that keeping her away from her daughters she said was occasioning them mental anguish due to the lack of motherly love that girls of such age require. She asked the court to grant her full custody of the minors.

A children’s officers’ report dated February 18, 2022, indicated that the minors wished to continue staying with their father. The minors accused their mother of arriving home late whenever their father was on night duty and usually arrived reeking of alcohol.

Court documents indicate that when the officer visited the house the minors showed him five cans of beer which the woman had hidden in her bedroom. They also showed the officer 3 shisha bottles. The officer invited the court to protect the minors from the woman whom he indicated do not have the capacity to take good care of them.

The court noted that having perused statements by the woman she did not contest the allegations of adultery levelled against her and corroborated by the children's officer’s report.

“She did not dispute that the plaintiff (man) found her with a lover packed along Thika Road on December 7, 2021. She did not dispute the fact that she sped off towards Lucky Summer with the said lover upon being busted by the plaintiff,” read the judgment in part.

The court further noted she did not dispute allegations that she was in a scene where one of her revellers was killed in a night shoot-out in a club.

“The totality of the foregoing is that the defendant has stood out to be an unfit mother. The welfare of the minors is not one of her interests or concerns. She does not have time to impact parental care and love for the minors. If she did so, the accusations levelled against her would not have existed in the first place,” read the judgment in part.

The court noted that the worst is that the minors were ceased of her conduct. The court further noted that it is enjoined by law to secure the interest of the minors.

“An alarm has been raised by the children’s office regarding the defendant’s conduct. Evidence on record and the minors have confirmed such. In light of this the defendant cannot be granted actual custody of the minors,” continued the judge.

The court in making final orders directed that the legal custody of the minors shall jointly vest in the man and woman. The actual custody, care and control will, however, vest on the man.