W v W

Court:Family Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:FCMC2007/1980
Judgment Date:24 Aug 1981
FCMC002007/1980 W v. W





ACTION NO. 2007 OF 1980


BETWEEN W Petitioner
W Respondent


Coram: H.H. Judge Bokhary in Court

Date of Judgment: 24th August 1981




1. In this case I have to deal with the question of the custody of 2 young children: a little girl aged 9 and her younger brother aged 5. Unfortunately, their parents' marriage has broken down irretrievably. Late last year, their mother presented a petition for divorce on the basis of 2 years living apart and consent. 3 months ago, she was granted a decree nisi. The learned Judge who granted the decree was not satisfied with the arrangements for the children. So he adjourned the question of their custody to chambers. I share the learned Judge's anxiety. Such anxiety springs from the fact that the Court is being asked to grant custody of one child to one person and custody of the other child to another person. Both parties urge me to grant custody of the daughter to the wife and custody of the son to the husband.

2. To split up the children of a family is inherently undesirable from the point of view of their welfare, which is the first and paramount consideration. If reasonably possible, such a thing should be avoided. Any Court would be reluctant to bring about such a split by its order. Even where the Court is faced with a de facto split of this sort, it will always examine all the relevant circumstances very closely before turning such a situation into a de jure one by its order.

3. One can see these considerations operating in the way in which the learned Judge who granted the wife a decree nisi dealt with this matter when it was before him. First, he declined to make a declaration under section 18(1)(b)(i) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance, Cap. 192 that the arrangements for the children were satisfactory or even the best that can be devised in the circumstances; and, accordingly, he referred the question of their custody to Chambers. Secondly, he exercised the useful power of reference to the Director of Social Welfare for investigation and report given by rule 95(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Rules.

4. As a result of this reference, I have the benefit of a helpful report on the children dated June 16, 1981, prepared by a caseworker, Mrs. WONG LEUNG Man-ha, to whom I would like to express the Court's thanks.

5. The vital...

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