The National, Wednesday August 08th, 2012
By ELIAS NANAU
NATIONAL court judge Catherine Davani this week raised concerns in court that laws dealing with the dissolution of marriages in the country were outdated.
“You can’t force a man to take back a woman or vice versa,” Justice Davani said.
“Unfortunately we cannot do that because the legislation is outdated.”
Davani was to have made a ruling this week on an application by a doctor to dissolve his marriage. The couple have four children.
The couple from the Western Highlands have been separated since 2006 as a result of alleged ‘cruelty’ by the wife against her husband throughout their marriage.
That resulted in the husband seeking legal redress to dissolve the marriage.
The husband had alleged his wife had stolen K27,000 from him.
After considering evidence from the immediate relatives from both sides, Justice Davani said the court had been placed in a difficult situation.
“Evidence is from relatives so who could we believe?” she said.
“Neutral people will give objective evidence.”
She said evidence from both sides accused each partner of abuse and cruelty.
“In PNG, we hear about wife beating but the wife can beat a husband too,” she said.
“The court must try to prove that to its reasonable satisfaction.”
She voiced concern that any decision to separate a marriage should consider the custody of the children.
“You cannot remove a child from a mother’s home and take to a foreign home. It will be detrimental,” she said.
She has refused to dissolve the marriage, instead ordering the husband to pay K200 fortnightly in maintenance for each child until they are 18 years old or completed their tertiary studies and when an appropriate decree on dissolution of marriage was entered into.