My wife and I are starting divorce proceedings and she wants to return to her home country of South Africa with our 2 year old little boy (Zach). She is a South African National in the UK on a Spouse Visa and has been for the past 4.5 years. Whilst I knew divorce was imminent, I’m devastated to hear that she wants to take our son with her. Legal advice seems to suggest that any application to the court for my son to remain in the UK is unlikely to succeed given that her family and friend network is largely South African based as opposed to a relatively small UK network.
My feeling is that within the next 2 months, she will want to return. Each day is a struggle at the moment thinking about Zach leaving – I’m pretty emotional as you can imagine.
Has anyone had, or is currently encountering, a similar experience? Am after some advice, guidance and support.
Thank you for your comprehensive response Anonymous – no formal custody arrangements have been agreed yet and i’m trying my best to keep this away from the courts where possible although it might be inevitable that we end up in this scenario!
Whilst she needs my permission to leave the UK and enter SA, it could end up costing 10’s thousands to keep them inj the UK temporarily and eventually, they would probably get a court order granted to leave. There are no extenuating circumstances here either thankfully.
My only real options are moving to SA or certainly far closer and agreeing on some form of shared custodial arrangement that is enforceable in SA too.
Thanks to all for your prompt feedback – extremely helpful and its encouraging to know that it won’t cost the earth should I wish to represent myself in court. I hadn’t considered the shared custody option so that might be an angle to pursue – I could say I want him in the UK for 1/4 of the year for example.