Archibald v. Archibald

The appellant, a mother who shared two young children with the respondent, appealed a judgment awarding custody of the couple’s children to the respondent after their divorce. At the time of the original custody order, the children were residing with the appellant in Malawi, but the court granted custody to the respondent to raise them in England. The original order was predicated on the respondent’s assertion that while he was not presently best suited to support his children, his parents, the children’s grandparents, were available to raise the children until such time in the short-term future that respondent could acquire his own home. The lower court that issued the order appeared to favor this arrangement over the children remaining with their mother, at least in part due to her living with a new man who was unrelated to the children and with whom she had no immediate prospect for marriage. Ultimately, in the time between argument at the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Court’s decision, the parties came to a custody agreement and filed a Consent Order with the court, which obviated the issue. The Supreme Court of Appeal, however, still filed this opinion, stating that the lower court had erred and should have awarded custody to the appellant based on consistency in the lives of the children. The Supreme Court of Appeal emphasized that the lower court’s reliance on the appellant’s relationship with another man was inappropriate without evidence of harm to the children.



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