A divorced Kenyan couple is embroiled in a bitter court battle over the custody of their two children.
While the father wants the two minors aged 14 and 8 to remain in Kenya, their mother prefers to take them to the US, where she believes they will have better life opportunities.
Having been born in the US, the two kids hold both Kenyan and US citizenship.
Court documents indicate that the two legally divorced in 2010 while still living in the US, with an Alabama court that dissolved the marriage giving custody of their firstborn child, who was four years old, to the mother.
Two years after their divorce, the couple had their second child while still in the US, before the man decided to move back to Kenya. The woman then followed him and they reunited, but the couple disagreed again and decided to break up, with the woman choosing to return to the US.
A standoff emerged when the woman demanded to relocate to the US with the two kids, prompting the man to move to court.
He told the court that the children are already enrolled in schools in Kenya and relocation would disrupt their learning. On her part, the woman argued that the children will have better opportunities in the US.
Pronouncing himself on the matter, Principal Magistrate Benjamin Limo of Nakuru law courts granted interim custody to the father, but the mother appealed the decision at the High Court on September 23rd.
On Tuesday, Justice Joel Ngugi established that the best interests of the children were not considered before custody was granted to the father and referred the matter back to the magistrate's court for retrial.
“The case is remanded back to the trial court for a rehearing of the substantive suit on a priority basis. In any event, trial to begin within the next seven days,” ruled Justice Ngugi.