Court/Judicial body: Family Appeals Court of Montevideo
Date: November 4, 2009 CRC
Provisions: Article 3: Best interests of the child Article 9: Separation from parents
Domestic provisions: Uruguayan Constitution, Articles 2, 6, 8, 38, 40 and 42
Background: A child’s mother resided in Uruguay, while the child’s father resided in Spain. The mother had not allowed the father to see the child for two years, claiming that the father was mentally unstable. The father sued to obtain visitation rights.
Issue and resolution: Custody; visitation. The Court ruled that the child should have supervised visits with his father during a one-year period, allowing for the possibility of unsupervised visits thereafter.
Court reasoning: The Court found that there was no clear evidence regarding the father’s alleged mental instability and accordingly ruled that the mother had interfered with their child’s right to maintain contact with his father in violation of both the Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Excerpt citing CRC and other relevant human rights instruments as translated by CRIN: Throughout the matter which we are currently adjudicating, it has become evident that [the mother] violated the child’s right to maintain contact with his father, in clear violation of the norms established in Articles 3 and 9 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Articles 2, 6, 8, 38, 40 and 42 of the Constitution as she failed to comply with the agreements that had been reached in the matter without legitimate cause.
CRIN comments: CRIN believes this decision is consistent with the CRC. As recognised by the Court, children have the right to develop relationships with their parents as far as possible under Article 9 of the Convention. Here, as there appears to be no valid reason to prevent the child from seeing his father, denying the child the right to have father-son visits would also run against the his best interests in line with Article 3 of the Convention.
Citation: Sentencia Tribunal Familia 1er Turno, No. 422/2009 (Uruguay) Link to Full Judgment: www.juecesinfanciamercosur.org/422.doc