Treat estranged spouse with respect in front of children: HC

“During separation, both spouses are not required to treat each other with equal respect or with love, but humanity demands that they be nice to the other in front of their children,” Justice Krishnan Ramasamy said.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: Observing that every child has the right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents, the Madras High Court ruled that denying such right by one parent after separation, without sufficient justification, was a form of child abuse.

“During separation, both spouses are not required to treat each other with equal respect or with love, but humanity demands that they be nice to the other in front of their children,” Justice Krishnan Ramasamy said.

“Severe effects of parental alienation on children are self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, etc., as the children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent… A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child,” he added.

While hearing a petition from a man who wanted joint custody and shared parenting of his 10-year-old daughter, the judge said for the well-being of the children, the spouse should treat the other as a guest, because in Indian customs and practice, a guest is treated as God – “Athidi Devo Bhava”.

The judge asked the woman to show hospitality to her estranged husband by providing snacks, dinner, etc., “to create a healthy atmosphere so that the child should feel happy and enjoy the moments by spending with parents”. The court allowed the petitioner to visit his daughter every Friday and Saturday from 6-8 pm.

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