The Supreme Court has advised spouses to "come over the temperamental disharmony" which usually exists in every marriage, as they are instrumental in the development of their children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing and giving them a happy home.
"Divorce and custody battles can become a quagmire and it is heart-wrenching to see that the innocent child is the ultimate sufferer who gets caught up in the legal and psychological battle between the parents," a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi said.
It expressed deep concern that the child is not a true participant in a custody dispute and her future is often ignored.
"The child’s psychological balance is deeply affected through the marital disruption," it said.
The top court said a negotiated resolution between the parents is preferable from the child’s perspective for several reasons.
"A child’s future relationship with each of his parents may be better maintained and his existing relationship is less damaged by a negotiated settlement than by one imposed by a court after adversarial proceedings," the bench said.
The court directed a sparring couple from Andhra Pradesh to return to the United States as their two children born over there in 2012 and 2014 held US passports and got their citizenship.
The woman here had come back to India in 2017, after filing divorce and custody petition in the US court in 2016, due to the death of her maternal grandmother. In Hyderabad, she filed a guardianship petition, apart from FIR, concealing the material fact that the US court had restrained both the parties not to change the resident status of children.
The woman "cannot disregard the proceedings instituted at her before the US court and she must participate in those proceedings by engaging solicitors of her choice to espouse her cause," the court said.
"The best interest of the children being of paramount importance will be served if they return to the US and enjoy their natural environment with love, care and attention of their parents including grandparents and to resume their school and be with their teachers and peers," the court said.
The bench dismissed the woman's plea against the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court's directing her to return to the US along with the children.