‘You can’t hug Skype’: Father wins legal battle against ex-wife trying to take their two-year-old son to Hong Kong after judge agrees you can’t cuddle over the internet
By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline
A mother who wanted to relocate to Hong Kong taking her son with her and leaving the father behind in England has had her request turned down because ‘you can’t hug Skype’.
The mother of the two-year-old boy said the child could stay in contact with his father using phone calls, internet video calls, and visits.
However, the man argued that visiting Hong Kong regularly was impractical, and that internet services were often unreliable and didn’t substitute for physical contact.
And at the High Court today Judge Roderic Wood said the plan was inadequate because ‘you can’t hug Skype’, adding that he did not believe the mother would stick to her commitments.
Mr Justice Wood added: ‘The disadvantages of Skype – as any user will know – are all too often the lack of clarity of image, the sound delay even if short and, as counsel colourfully notes in her closing submissions, “You can’t hug Skype”.’
Rejecting the mum’s case, he continued: ‘This is a case where a father, despite obstacles, has built up a very good and profound attachment to his son.
‘The mother’s proposals to relocate – even if her proposals for visits, telephone calls and Skype calls are carried out – in practice do not make up for these losses.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe this mother once in Hong Kong, if given permission, would adhere to the contact regime pre-figured in her case.
‘Even if I am wrong about that and she started the programme, it would, having seen her and heard her, only in my view be a matter of time before this regime faltered and collapsed.
‘I simply did not, in the light of my findings…believe her as to her intentions.’
He continued: ‘Both these parents are capable of raising [the child] physically and of giving him physical care and nurture.
‘It is the mother’s inability to recognise in any real way the value to [the child] of having his father in his life and to facilitate and encourage it which leads me to find that in reality she would let [the child’s] opportunities for continuing and developing his relationship with his father wither or even cease abruptly.’
The decision means the boy will stay in England, where he can have direct contact with his father.
Source: “‘You can’t hug Skype’: Father wins legal battle against ex-wife trying to take their two-year-old son to Hong Kong after judge agrees you can’t cuddle over the internet”, Daily Mail, 27 February 2015