The case was heard at Naas Dsitrict Court on Thursday
A local district court judge has branded an estranged couple “odious” and “a disgrace” after hearing evidence from them in the course of an application from the man to have access to his two younger children.
The case, which was held at Naas District Court last Thursday, involved a former couple living in county Kildare who have separated but until recently were living together in the family home.
Judge Miriam Walsh was told that a few days before the father was due to take the children on holiday to Kerry he arrived back to the house from a job interview and found that his former wife had left, taking the children with her.
She had organised separate accommodation, she told him in a sparse text later that day, but wouldn’t tell him where.
That was five weeks ago, and since then he has only had access to his eldest child who is a teenager. She has stayed with him over a number of weekends.
The holiday, which had been booked, had to be cancelled.
His former wife alleged that he had mental health issues, that his behaviour had caused the youngest child to wet the bed, that he allowed the children to stay up late and that he paced around the house at night time.
She alleged mental abuse and erratic behaviour on his part.
For his sake the man said that his former wife was “projecting” and that he was “tip-toing around” his own house.
Representing the man, David Powderly said that the woman had decided unilaterally that she was “in charge”.
Legal proceedings to initiate a separation agreement had been sent the previous year but had not advanced since then. The man said that he had been expecting that the separation would happen in due course and was ok with that.
In her evidence, the woman said that her son was no longer wetting the bed since they had left.
She added that she had been in regular contact with her own solicitor and didn’t know why the separation process had not advanced.
Having heard evidence from both, Judge Walsh said the pair had “an unseemly display of hatred towards each other”.
She said that she was appalled that the woman had effectively cancelled the holiday, adding that it was “malicious”.
She said that there was no evidence presented to court that she was terrified of the man, or that the children were terrified of him.
Judge Walsh issued an interim access order, saying that the children would spend every second week with their father at the family home.
“You are both odious people to allow this to happen,” the judge told the former couple, describing them as a disgrace. She felt they were using the kids against each other.
She told them that even after a separation, they would be “joined together at the hip” for many years to come for “weddings, funerals and bar mitzvah’s or until the children wake up some morning and a light bulb goes off and they tell either one of you where to go”.
She warned them that the fate of their children were in their hands and that either they would turn out to be well balanced adults or end up with massive chips on their shoulders.