independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Couple must pay for boy's future

Court orders staged maintenance provisions until Tristan reaches age of 18

Ann

O'Loughlin

JOSEPH Dowse and his wife Lala have been ordered to pay maintenance for the little boy Tristan they left in an Indonesian orphanage, after he had been adopted and lived with them for almost two years.

The future well-being of the little boy, who is four-and-a-half, has now been secured by a series of orders made by the High Court and made public for the first time yesterday.

Mr Justice John McMenamin, who ruled that Tristan shall remain an Irish citizen, said the couple will now have to pay ?350 a month as long as the boy is a dependant child under 18.

A ?20,000 lump sum also had to be paid upfront and a further ?25,000 is to be paid over when Tristan is 18, in 2019.

Mr Justice McMenamin said in the High Court: "If there is just one redeeming feature from the evidence, it is the knowledge we now have as to Tristan's current well-being and the fact that he has now been happily restored to the custody of his natural mother."

When Tristan is 18 years of age, the judge said, the issue of continuing dependency will be reconsidered and assessed by the court in accordance with the law.

The judge also ordered the Irish Adoption Board to "procure the cancellation of the entry" for Tristan in the Irish Register of Foreign Adoptions.

Mr Justice McMenamin ordered that Suryani, Tristan's natural mother, be appointed his sole legal guardian and that she have sole custody of him.

The monthly ?350 payment will include ?175 to be paid directly into the bank account of Suryani, and a further ?175 to be paid into court to accrue for the benefit of Tristan until he reaches 18.

Mr Justice McMenamin said Tristan shall continue to enjoy all rights to the estates of each of the Dowses as if he had remained their lawful child.

Joseph Dowse was ordered to enter into an insurance bond of ?120,000 to secure the payment of the sum to the court for the benefit of Tristan should Mr Dowse die before the boy reaches 18.

Tristan Dowse has now also been made a ward of court by the judge.

The judge said he will review the case in six months to ensure that all orders have been complied with by the couple and to assess Tristan's circumstances again.

The judge found on the evidence it is probable that Tristan would have enjoyed being fed and clothed to a very high standard with the Dowses and would have lived in a superior and comfortable house and been educated to a high standard. If the registration of the adoption was cancelled, the judge said, Tristan would have available to him food and clothing appropriate to a person at the lower end of the middle class in Indonesia. He would live in cramped accommodation and be unlikely to receive a full second-level education.

"I am satisfied the court must view the best interests of Tristan in the light of regrettable events that have occurred, balanced by the fact that he has, happily, been reunited with his natural mother who is willing to care for him.

"However, it is clear that her social and financial circumstances are such that she can only provide for his physical, social and educational needs to a degree," the judge said. The Dowses, who are now believed to be living in Azerbaijan, were not in court. Their solicitor, Gus Cullen, said they were satisfied with the decision.

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