Shunted between parents

Shunted between parents

Divorces are messy affairs. More so, for the children of the Splitsville-bound couple. Children are traumatised not only by the bad blood that flows between their parents but also by the choices thrust on them, like choosing between the father and the mother. In a divorce, most of the time the wife slaps a series of cases against the husband, who is later forced to fight a long-drawn legal battle to get custody of the child and negate the false cases. 

Kumar Jahgirdar, president of Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP), points out that there are not less than 25,000 cases of divorce and child custody pending in the family courts in Bangalore. “Cases of divorce are increasing at a steady pace in the City and it is mainly because of ego and salary issues between couples. This leads to incompatibility and separation becomes the only way,” observes Kumar.

Families who go through a divorce have a tough time. Thomas Mathew struggles to fight his emotions when he narrates the tale of his son Biju Mathew, who was diagnosed with cancer a little more than a year ago. On knowing this, his wife began to distance herself from him and before he knew it, she took their child and left the house.

“Later, after a few months she filed for divorce and slapped several false cases against my son. All we are asking for is the custody of the child,” reasons Thomas.

Manpreet Singh Bhandari is another victim of several false cases. Barely a year after his marriage, the couple began developing differences. “I was alienated from my child when he was 15 months old. I visit my son on the weekends. I don’t understand why my wife and I haven’t been able to sit together and sort out our differences,” explains Manpreet. He has now moved the court for shared parenting rights. “I am filing a shared-parenting petition in the best interest of the child. The child needs love, care and affection from both the parents,” he states.

BR Srinivas, a businessman, financially supported his wife to complete her graduation and postgraduation as well. She began working and soon issues related to salaries popped up.

“She left the home with our son, who is now a little over twelve. She alleged that I tried to steal her jewellery, ill- treated her and even tried to harass her. Now, after a long-drawn battle, I’ve won the shared parenting rights in court and now our son gets to stay with me for six months and with my wife for six months,” says Srinivas.

Raju Reddy has been separated from his wife for almost 13 years now. “I still don’t know what went wrong between me and my wife. The only good thing is that I am not deprived of time with our 17-year-old daughter,” he shares.  

Most of the divorce cases take an ugly turn with the wife slapping false cases against the husband. Siji Malayil, an advocate with the High Court, observes that almost 90 per cent of the cases filed against the husbands are false, with no legal evidence. A woman can file a case of dowry harassment within seven years of the marriage. The death of the wife within seven years of the marriage is presumed to be a dowry death and the husband will have to prove otherwise. Women also tend to file cases of domestic violence, popularly called DV Act. They could also demand maintenence for themselves and the child.

Dr Roshan R Jain, senior consultant-psychiatry, Apollo Hospitals thinks that the impact of divorce is more profound on young children. “Parental separation affects the child’s ability to cope with eventualities, formulate strategies and gradually develop a sense of insecurity. The older children take to alcoholism, drugs and develop behavioural problems,” concludes Dr Roshan.

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