Child custody battle plays out through video conferencing

Friday, December 3 2010

A little girl in Malaysia caught in the middle of a custody battle between her parents will have her case mediated through video conferencing, reports the Malaysian National News Agency.

The mother, who lives in London, was unable to attend court because she has exhausted all of her leave. However, video conferencing has allowed the proceedings to continue regarding the future of 11-year-old Bi-Anne.

Originally, custody was granted to the girl's father, Low Swee Siong, when the couple divorced in 2006 after seven years of marriage. Her mother, Tan Siew Siew, applied for and won custody in 2008, but Bi-Anne has refused to join her mother in London.

Tan's inability to attend the mediation proceedings, which are 100 percent voluntary, caused the justice of the court, Low Hop Bing, to question her willingness to resolve the custody dispute, reports the website. But the justice then suggested the work could continue via video conference, because it would allow facial expressions and body language to be observed, an important part of mediation.

Low hopes that the mediation will result in a win-win situation for everyone involved.

"The most important [thing] is the interest of the child. It is the welfare of the child as to what she deserved, that is the primary concern," said the judge as he addressed the court, reports the Star.