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Sunday, February 06, 2011

There is a better way

This is an update to one of the earliest posts I ever wrote on this blog, back in 2006, some 500 or more rants ago.

If you recall, Molly/Misbah was a little girl who ran away from a council estate in Scotland where she lived with her mother to be with her father in Lahore, Pakistan, sparking an Interpol search.

It subsequently transpired that the child wanted to live with her father and other siblings there, and was very unhappy at the prospect of being with her mother in poverty and deprivation in Scotland.

There was, at the time, concerns about the mother's drinking too.

In the end, Molly got to live in Pakistan with dad, but one wonders whether that would have been the case had the evidence not stacked up so strongly that it was the best place for her. Had she not expressed her own desire so dramatically to leave, had her mother not been drinking, had her father not been affluent enough to fight the case, it could have been very different.

Anyhow, the update is that she has now, as a near-adult, moved back to Scotland to be with her mother and one of her sisters. Reading between the lines (Mum's had a child by another relationship taken from her custody) the girls are looking after their mother rather than the other way around.

But what's crucially important about this development is that it came about as the result of out-of-court negotiations between all the parties. IE the dad Sajad Rana could have sat in Pakistan and ignored all the mother's claims, but he didn't. He facilitated her visits and permitted his children to return to be with her when they expressed that interest.

There is a better way to resolve custody disputes than the traumatic and dramatic adversarial court system that put this family through the ringer over 3 years ago. And these people have found that way. It is to talk, mediate, negotiate and put the children first at all times.

I congratulate Sajad Rana for showing grace by allowing his children to be with their mother, and I congratulate Louise Campbell for having grown into a responsible relationship with her children and her co-parent.

And I'm delighted for little Molly/Misbah, who I suspect will never again feel the desperate need to run away sparking an international manhunt because she was so unhappy about the situation created by her parents' break-up.

Many couples can learn from the example here. The lessons are myriad - mothers who vindictively use their children against their exes may find those children come to reject them. Parents who show dignity and respect their children's need to see their other parents are rewarded with love and loyalty. And no one need enrich the parasites of the legal profession in resolving the issues that arise when a relationship breaks up.

There is a better way. Perhaps it's time we all migrated to it.

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