Mr. A V. Mrs. A GHC/66/2016
WHETHER A MOTHER CAN BE DENIED CUSTODY OF HER CHILD BASED ON HER
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
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.
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.