Family Judge Rules on Future of Breast Cancer Orphan Aged Six

Family judges are used to intervening in the most distressing situations and always have the interests of children uppermost in their minds. In one case, a judge was called upon to resolve an intensely bitter dispute in respect of a six-year-old girl whose mother had died from breast cancer.

The girl’s parents had separated acrimoniously and the mother had taken her daughter to live with family friends, a middle-aged couple. Following her death, a deeply destructive row broke out in which the couple and the father each argued that the little girl should live permanently with them. The father pointed to his biological ties to the girl, as her only living natural parent, but the couple insisted that she would be better off making her home with them.

The judge found that the father had a capacity for love and was deeply attached to his daughter. However, he had made a number of serious, but entirely groundless, allegations against the couple, whom the judge described as warm, loving and kindly and who had nurtured the girl admirably for almost two years.

He reached the clear conclusion that the girl’s best interests lay in remaining in the couple’s care. However, he ruled that the father and his partner must be permitted to play a full part in her life, including frequent staying contact. Noting that, had the mother lived, she would have been horrified by the vitriolic dispute, he expressed the hope that all those involved in the girl’s care would heal their differences in the light of his decision and pull together in her interests.

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