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DENYING A MOTHER CUSTODY OF HER CHILD ON ACCOUNT OF FORMER’S HIV STATUS

Mr. A V. Mrs. A GHC/66/2016


WHETHER A MOTHER CAN BE DENIED CUSTODY OF HER CHILD BASED ON HER

HIV STATUS?


The case is a petition for the dissolution of a 17 years old Marriage filed by the

Husband against his HIV+ wife demanding custody of the children owing to her

status.


Lawyers Alert, on behalf of the Respondent, equally filed a cross-petition praying

the court for the dissolution of the marriage and custody of the children. Lawyers

Alert posits that denying custody of children on grounds of HIV+ mothers’

amounts to stigma and discrimination.


It would be recalled that both were married in 2006 under the customary

law and on 23 rd December 2011, they conducted statutory marriage. They

had three issues – two girls and a boy. During her first pregnancy in the

marriage, Mrs. A went for ante natal in a hospital where she tested positive.

She informed her husband about it and he said he didn’t have any problem

with that. The marriage continued and they had the second and third

babies. In 2014, after having the third baby, Mr. A started discriminating

against her, she stopped coming close to her, stopped talking to her and

stopped giving her money for food. He later abandoned her and the three


children. Since 2016, Mrs. A has been the one taking care of the children,

including paying their school fees.


OUTCOME:

Court upholds the petitioner’s prayer to have the marriage dissolved and ordered

that the children be removed from the mother. Even though it was not expressly

stated in the judgment that the decision to cede custody to the petitioner is

based on the HIV+ status of Mrs. A, the body language of the court during trial

points in this direction.

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