Child Custody – Frequently Asked Questions South Africa

The child loses out.

Frequently Asked Questions on Child Custody – South Africa

Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf - Advocate High Court Cape Town
Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf – Advocate High Court of South Africa

We proud ourselves on our knowledge of family law, and related matters in relation to South African Law. This includes issues and questions surrounding child custody, divorce and child maintenance. Feel free to browse through this question and answers sections below. Should you not find the answer to a child custody question you are looking for, feel free to post your child custody question at the bottom of this post.

What does it mean when you have primary residential custody?

It means that the child primarily resides with you. For example, the child will only visit the other parent every second weekend.

What is a joint residence order?

The child resides with both parents. Usually on an equal basis.

What is joint custody of a child?

This is the situation where both parents care for the child.

How can you get custody of your child?

If you want custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

How do I file for joint custody?

If you want joint custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

How do you file for visitation rights?

If you want visitation rights over your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

How do you file for full custody of your child in Cape Town, South Africa?

If you want custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

How do I file for joint custody in Cape Town, South Africa?

If you want joint custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

How do you file for sole custody of a child?

If you want sole custody of your child, you would have to approach a court for that. You can either approach the Children’s Court of the High Court. The court would then decide if it is in the child’s best interests.

What does the term sole legal custody of a child mean?

If you have sole legal custody, it means that you alone make day to day decisions regarding your child’s life.

Can you get sole custody and child support?

Yes, you can.

Can a father get full custody of his child?

Yes, he can. All that he must prove is that it would be in the child’s best interests.

How is child support affected by joint custody?

If one parent earns more than the other, then he or she may have to pay child support to the other parent. This is so even if they have joint custody.

What is shared custody?

This is when both parents care for the child and have a say in the child’s life.

Who will have to pay child support?

Both parents have to pay child support.

What is considered joint custody?

When both parents care for the child jointly.

What is joint custody with primary residence?

Where the child primarily resides would be her primary residence. Joint custody would mean both parents care for the child and have a say in her life.

Can both parents have primary custody?

It is possible in theory, but not practical.

What does it mean to be the primary custodial parent?

It means that you decide the day to day affairs of your child’s life. For example, the school he goes to, and the extramural activities he does.

Who would be the custodial parent?

Both or either parent can be the custodial parent.

What is the difference between full and sole custody?

Full custody would mean you have just as much custody rights as the other parent. Sole custody would mean you the only parent who has custody rights.

What does sole custody mean in Cape Town, South Africa?

Sole custody would mean you the only parent who has custody rights.

Is primary custody the same as full custody?

No, not necessary. Primary would mean the child primarily lives by one parent. The other parent may still see the child on weekends, school holidays etc. Full custody could mean the same as sole custody.

What does it mean to have joint physical custody?

This would mean that the child is in the care of both parents. Basically on an equal basis.

What is joint sole custody?

Joint custody is when both parents take care of the child.

Do I have to pay child support if I have 50 50 custody?

If a parent earns more than the other parent, he or she may have to pay more towards the child’s expense. A good example would be school fees.

What does it mean to have 50 50 custody?

This means that the child resides with both parents most of the time. Both parents also have a joint say in the child’s life.

What is the definition of joint legal custody?

Joint custody is when both parents have equal say in the child’s life.

What is primary custody of a child?

Primary custody is where one parent cares for the child primarily.

What does primary caregiver mean?

A primary caregiver is a parent who primarily takes care of the child.

What is split custody of a child?

This is the case where the child spends an equal amount of time with either parent.

What is the definition of a caregiver?

A caregiver is a parent or person who cares for the child.

What is caregiving of a child?

Caregiving is caring for a child. This includes the provision of food, clothing and shelter.

What are the responsibilities of a caregiver?

To care for the child. This includes the provision of food, clothing, education and shelter.

What is the job description of a caregiver?

To care for the child. This includes the provision of food, clothing and shelter.

What are the skills of a caregiver?

There are no specific skills. However, he or she must be able to care for the child. The child’s best interests should always be upheld.

What are the qualities of a good caregiver?

Who ensures the child’s best interests are met.

What does it mean to be a custodian?

It means that you take care of the day to day needs of the child.

What are my rights as a father?

To be part of your child’s life.

How can a father get custody of his child?

You would need to apply to a court.

Who has custody of a child when the parents are not married?

Primarily the mother. However, the father acquires such rights if he forms part of the child’s life.

What rights does a father have to a child born out of wedlock?

If he forms part of the child’s life and pays support, then he acquires parental responsibilities and rights.

What are your rights as a father?

To form part of his child’s life.

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239 thoughts on “Child Custody – Frequently Asked Questions South Africa

  1. Good day

    I am currently married to the father of my kids, however after having had our first child i found out he has a drugging issues weve been separated and are currently trying to make it work , however i am going in for a major operation and would like to know if god forbids i do not wakeup how do i go about making my mom or family member the primary caregiver as he is only one year clean and im not certain that he has the capabilities to oversee our kids as they are both extremely young…weve one at the moment and hopefully in a few days i will be delivering number 2.

    1. Should something happen, then your parents needs to urgently approach a lawyer and apply for primary care. The court would then decide what is best for the children.

  2. If only my husband work and i want full custody on my son what is my chance.
    I’ve been homeschooling him learning him myself i make him food i bath him i take care for him when his sick I’ve never left him with someone and just went out only when i do the shopping because of the covid.i dont drink i dont smoke and i don’t go out i am with him day in and say out

  3. Good day
    me and my husband are busy with a divorce, we have 2 daughters aged 16 and 13 and then a boy aged almost 3, we have been separated for 8 months now, and in the 8 months i have supported my kids financially without him, he says he wants nothing to do with them but will fight for his son, What are my rights in this situation,
    He has 2 sons from previous women different from each other, and in the 24 years he hasn’t paid a cent maintenance to help support the mothers, I have never told him that he cant see his children, he always told me he doesn’t want to see them because he wont pay maintenance, I really don’t know what to do anymore,

    1. Good day

      You can claim maintenance, which we advise you to do. Regarding your son, the law looks at what is best for him. Your rights would be based on that. You would best to answer that question at this point.

  4. You
    im divorced with 2 kids. my husband stays permanently with the boy & I have taken a girl child. im not working. Can I get maintenance for my daughter staying with me from my x husband? what does the law say

  5. Good Day

    I have been married for near on 12 years, have 3 beautiful children (8, 5 and 1). My husband insisted that I quit my job 7 years ago and that I do not work again. I have thus been unemployed all this time. We chose the homeschooling route so the kids are with me all day every day. My husband works long hours and when he is home he usually has a load of other things that he choosing above spending time with the kids and myself. We have other young ladies living with us (the owner of the farm where he works) so that also prevents us from having one on one time with him. What are my chances in a divorce to get full custody of my children and then to claim child and spousal support from him until I have found my feet. He has told me on multiple occasions that he will fight for the kids and make me loose everything if I try and divorce him – which has been my main reason for staying. He refuses to see a counselor or anything to try and help work things out. I get blamed for everything.

    1. Good day

      The court focuses on what is best for the kids. If you are the primary care giver, chances are good that that would remain after divorce. Regarding alimony, it is possible. The court would look at various factors and decide from there.

  6. A section in the parenting plan of my daughters upcoming divorce states:

    “Each of the Parents will advise the other 2 (two) weeks in advance of the whereabouts of …(the child)… if she is to be away from the usual residence of the Parent for periods longer than 3 (three) days.”

    My daughter and son-in law have agreed to share the residence of their child between them i.e. one week parent A one week parent B.

    The above mentioned clause is a hick-up because it seems extremely unreasonable should my daughter decide on a Friday to go for more than 3 days on a trip that she cannot do that because the parenting plan states she should have given notice of such a trip 2 weeks in advance. My son-in-law states that it is the law that that section must be written like that in the parenting plan.

    I would like to know if that is true, if that is the EXACT wording that must be put in the parenting plan .

    thank you

    1. A parenting plan can have in it any time limits as long as it is workable and reasonable and in the child’s best interest. I presume the parties agreed to the 2 weeks. It the parenting plan is an order of court, then your daughter would have to have it amended.

  7. Good day.

    My wife decide to file divore.

    We have toddler 2 years old turning 3 in December. We both very good parents. i sort of spend 90% time with my daughter while my wife is working. I did most of her milestones then when my wife get home i told her what she doing new ect she work from 8am till 17:00 and only get home around 18:00.

    My question is can i fight for 50/50 Custody or even 60/40 i would love to see my child as much as possible.
    My wife said to me only aloud to my child 1 week and every 2 weekend. i feel is so unfair. What is dad change to get more time with his kid. my wife has her own lawyer so need to get one now

    I cant handle to live without my child and she thinks just because she is the mother she can telll me when i can see my child and have to accept it.

    We also work about 5 km away from each other. I am teacher and my daughter will go next year to the same school where i work.

    any feedback would be great.

    1. We cannot see any reason why you can’t fight for what you want as stated. The court would decide what is best for the child based on all the evidence and information submitted.

  8. Hi :)

    I just need some clarity about something please. My husband wants to have 50/50 custody.. how does this work With maintenance for 3 children and all the expenses like school fees, medical aid etc?

    Thank in Advance!

    1. Good day
      You would need to sit down with your husband and look at your income, and the expenses of the children. Based on that, you should work out a fair schedule of who pays for what. Depending on your income and the expenses, one party may have have pay the other party cash maintenance. Basically, each parent must support the children proportionate to their means.

    1. The terms could be confused with equal custody or equal caring. Depending on the facts of the matter, it could mean different things for different parents. Especially if they have a written agreement unpacking what it means.

  9. Good Day

    Can a father who has a histroy of drug and alcohol addiction, combined with a criminal record get unsupervised visitation of a 9 month old baby. My baby’s father is such, he walked out on us while I was pregnant. Does not pay maintenance. I allow him to see the child at my home, I am soon to be relocating to a different city for a better career opportunity. He wants to have the the child every second weekend unsupervised. Is this possible?

    1. Good day

      The law looks at what is best for the child. The facts you mentioned about the father raises concerns. We strongly advise you speak to a social worker to advise what is the best contact the father should have under the circumstances. If supervised, under what circumstances etc.

  10. Hi There…please kindly advise how i can obtain full custody/ gaurdianship on my 19month old.

    Baby’s dad has never paid for any maintenance, during pregnancy and after. We had a big argument the 1st month of pregnancy. At the time he stayed in Vredenburg which he invited me for the weekend. He became unstable and we had a big argument, placed my phone in the toilet, where he then left me to get to cape town on my own.

    A few months down the line he made contact and insisted that baby is not his close to me giving birth. We never spoke again, till December 2019 and I let him see baby. I have asked of him to help me support baby but came with stories every month.

    Eventually, he advised that since baby does not have his surname or the first name he chose, he was not gonna pay for anything.

    I have all communication on my phone that he denies baby, also of him not being bothered about baby or wanting to pay maintenance. I have asked him to leave us alone, because he can become quite dangerous. He now threatens to come with the police to get his child.

    Please advise how i can get full custody.


    1. Good day
      We advise you to approach the children’s court. The court would then make a ruling as to what is best for the child.

  11. Good day,

    I need some legal advice on behalf of my partner.

    G* was married for 12 years and has two minor children (ages 8 and 11) with her husband. They separated in September 2017. As ahe had no suitable place to reside at the time of teh separation, she left the children with her husband, visiting them every day before and after work.

    G* and i met in 2018 and she subsequently moved into my house. Since June of 2018 and by mutual agreement with her husband, the children spend one week with us and one week with their father. This arrangement has been working perfectly for all involved.

    G* instituted divorce proceedings in April 2018 via Legal Aid. The matter has not yet been finalised resulting in her total exasperation. Legal Aid and its consultants are unhelpful and tardy to provide her with feedback, advice, etc.

    In her particulars of claim, G*proposes that the living arrangements pertaining to the children as they currently are should continue. Furthermore, as has been the case since the children were born, the father will continue to be responsible for the financial and other provisions of the one child while G*as the mother is responsible for the financial provision of the other child. G*doesnt want maintenance or child support from her husband and forgoes her right to claim from his provident fund, etc. She however, claims joint custody with primary residence being where we live.

    She was employed until the end of January 2020 whereapon she has taken a study sabbatical for one year (2020) to complete her Diploma in Paralegal Studies via Intec that she started in 2019. She will be seeking viable employment in 2021. I am employed within the Public Service (Parliament) and am financially stable. I support her and her children financially when they reside with me/us. This support covers food, school uniform, school fees, school transport, entertainment, clothes, etc. i have voluntarily taken on this responsibility as their mother and i are in a stable, committed relationship.

    Can the fact that she is unemployed affect her claim to joint custody of the children? Can i as the person voluntarily responsible for their financial care make a submission to this effect viaan affidavit, pay slips etc, to the court?

    Both G* and i believe that its in the best interest of the children that the situation as it is at present is in the best interest of the children.

    I’ll appreciate your advice
    T. Alexander

    G* – the childrens mother / my partner

    1. Good day

      The fact that she is unemployed would not necessary affect her claim to joint custody of the children. The issue is what is best for the children. You supporting her financially is a positive factor.

  12. Hello
    The last time my son saw his father was before he was 3, he is now 7 and does not know he has a dad, who left the town he was staying and and we haven’t heard from him since. I would like to obtain sole custody or something similar, where I am the only person required to apply for passports, travel, school, etc without requiring a signature of the dad. My son has autism so I’m already paying most of my salary to his schooling and cannot afford the high fees for lawyers etc. Is there a way forward for us?
    Thank you

  13. Good Day
    I broke up with the father of my son in Dec 2018 because he became gradually violent (diagnosed with bi-polar) and has relapsed on heroin etc. I have a protection order against him, so he cant come to the house, and does not contribute towards my boy.
    He has ended up on the street and in prison twice, because of his addiction since then. When he came out he lived in a shelter and started a rehabilitation program. My son saw him twice while he was living at the shelter, as I was told that it would help with his recovery etc, my boy is almost 2 years old and doesn’t know his father.
    I have him in a great school, he has medical aid and I am putting money away for his tertiary education. My boy is a happy healthy kid.

    His Father has relapsed again, and was arrested for theft for the 3rd time in less than a year last week. He has no interest in having contact with my boy (cancels every planned visit) unless it is to borrow money. (I obviously don’t comply, so all contact stopped). He doesn’t want to sign him off, out of spite.

    My 1st question is: I want to file for Sole Legal Custody of my child, can I do this at Children’s’ Court, or does it have to be High Court? Being a single working Mother is no joke, and lawyers / Barristers are expensive.

    2nd question: how does it influence my case if the father is sentenced to 5 years in prison? as he cant comply with any of his parental rights regarding the children’s act?

    I would appreciate your feedback


  14. Gooday my ex husband had Contacted me and said it’s been some time we need to get divorced which i had agreed on and said that he is going or someone will serve me with the papers and we agreed on joint custody as the kids was living with me but I recently went through financial difficulties and wasn’t able to provide for them anymore and decided that the kids go to him he also is unemployed and can’t provide for the kids but he lives with his parents and they are able to provide for them financially and they are awesome people so we had agreed once i am on my feet again they would be back with me so I signed the papers but I didn’t think at that moment that the kids was with him but he is not actually providing for his kids but there grandparent but on the the divorce papers he doesn’t mention that his parents are the ones taking care of them but only mentions himself and saying that the kids will be living with him and wil be with me every school holiday .then he said that I didn’t need to be in court then he phones me and told me he was in court and that the court had said that the kids is not to see me untill the welfare has come and see me etc which I don’t understand my kids are my life and as soon as I am on my feet the kids are coming back to me it’s just I can’t let my kids go through difficult times and I am am being a good Mother for then not being selfish etc i feel the kids have the right to have both parent part of there lives and that they wouldn’t suffer because of the parents decisions and I have a good relationship with there father for theresake so what I want to know is if why would the court nou refuse me my kids if both parents are happy with having joint custody we both feel the same way and can’t understand why the court is not happy with that arrangement

  15. I have a 5 year old daughter, when I was pregnant her father went to jail for attempted murder etc…and he did not want me to have the baby but I did even though I had no support in my choice,after a while his mother approached me and asked me to attend a few visitations with her so he could see my daughter. we visited him about 6 times and after each visit she would be confused and become ill. so I stopped taking her to see him when she was nine months old, with every visit his mother bought her candy or cooldrink and once before Christmas she gave her a pink plastic bike and a doll. then we stopped talking because he wanted me to give her visitations without me knowing where she lives and I said no and he continued bothering us with late night calls from a cellphone he got into prison.

    then last year before Christmas his mother got my number from my father and called me asking if she could see my daughter and say goodbye because she was moving to Italy to marry a man she met and was dating. I agreed to meet her on my own terms so I met her at spur where she spent a few hours with my daughter and my other children afterwards she bought my daughter a pair of shoes and clothes and a jacket for each of my other children. after that visit we were in contact for about a month then I lost my phone. then a week ago her son contacted me on my facebook and asked to see my daughter to which I made my wishes very clear.

    truth is except for the few things mentioned above his family has never made an effort to assist providing for her in any way nor had they contacted her on birthdays or Christmas.
    my daughter doesn’t know her biological father and recognises my husband as her father. he has given her love and care and provided for her for years and excepts her as his own. we have a stable family life where there is no violence or drama. my relationship with my daughter is very close and she has siblings that she adores and loves. she has three meals a day and she has a decent bed to sleep on, takes a bath every day and always has clean clothes and toys.
    we might not be living a fancy life but we give our children all that we can and teach them. in our home there is no confusion and kids are kids.

    so after he contacted me a week ago his mother phoned asking me if she could supervise a visitation with her son and my daughter. she told me that she understands that the other children will also be present and that they are very close and that they are all treated equally and so she will treat them in the same manner she treats my daughter. and that she understands my daughter doesn’t know her father so she will present him as her son and not my daughters father and that I could get up and leave at any given moment. she also promised that nothing inappropriate will be said in front of the children.

    thing is I am afraid that she only wants him to visit his daughter so he can apply for custody in the long run. I don’t fully trust them and he has a bad history of lying and acting out. he also suffers from bipolar and can become unpredictable at any given moment. he has attempted suicide before and has acted violently in various occasions.
    I want to apply for full custody because I feel that I can give her a better life without drama and conflict, my husband is in the process of getting his red seal qualifications and then we plan on moving overseas where we both feel we can give our children a better education and future.
    I don’t want child maintenance or anything for her I just want to give her the life she deserves and when she is more mature I will tell her about her father and even arrange for her to meet him if need be.
    I will still inform him on how she is doing and send photos etc…

    what do I do? and how do I go about doing it?

    confused mother

  16. Hi
    We have been divorced for almost a year now and I see my 4year old daughter every second weekend and 1 day in the week in between every second weekend. What are the chances of me getting 50% custody as I want her to stay with me a week and then with her mother a week. Me and my daughter have a very strong bond as I did most of the things while me and her mother was married. Her mother also even confessed that me and my daughter will always have the stronger bond… the mother now stays with her new boyfriend and he also now demands updates about our daughter which I believe he has no rights as they are not even married.
    Hope to hear from you soon

  17. I am in a custody battle with a man who was found to have 5 possible mental disorders by a court psychologist,but also has bi polar and anxiety disorder.Long story short.A judge ignored reccomendations by family advocate and court pychologist and gave the father 6 days.Since that time he has tried to frame me to make me look like a bad mother so much to the point that it really started affecting our special needs 5 year old child.Eg He got the child expelled from school because he accosted the owner of the nursery school.I had to withdraw on a verbal level as he told me God appointed him to be my sons protector and he had to protect him from me.Further more my lawyer has stonewalled me since Jan.He is friends with the fathers lawyer.I have asked repeatedly what school my child is in…I get ignored.Please help.Nothing has been changed on the court order.What do I do?

  18. Hi

    My brother was married for a year and a half and divorced. There is no parenting plan set but he asks to see his 5 year old daughter every second weekend and to be notified when the child is sick or when there is a school function to no avail.
    He supports his child, pays school fees and buys her clothes.

    His daughter lives with her mother and the helper. The issue is on some weekends when my brother asks to take the child for the weekend she would refuse or always suggest alternative days.

    Is there anything he can do to actually see his child when he wants to or does he have to continuously see the child when the mother feels like it

    1. Good day

      They need to enter into a parenting plan and have it made an order or court or registered at the Family Advocate. If that is not possible, then he needs to approach the court to make an order regarding structured contact rights. If the divorce order deals with contact rights, he needs to enforce it.

  19. my ex boyfriend dumped me after I told him that our son is sick, he told me that I’m testing him and I want him to carry a burden knowing that he won’t be able to carry. he told me that our son will be strong enough to grow up without a father because he( the father) also grew up without hs father. he’s working but he hasn’t supported the child since he was born. now he shows up with his mother and want to take my son away from me. my mom is the only one whose been taking care of the child. my ex boyfriend’s mother told me that she can’t take care of his grandson,. his son and me, she said that she didn’t ask his son to make a baby,

    1. Good day
      He cannot just take your child away from you. We advise you approach the Children’s Court for assistance in resolving the issues.

  20. Six years into my marriage I was raped by a known individual.
    I did not report this as I was humiliated hurt and embarrassed.
    Thereafter discovering that I was pregnant. I considered abortion but did decided against it as I was unsure if the rapist was the father or my husband .
    I was harassed and threatened and blackmailed by the rapist. He is unemployed due to theft , a drug abuser and a very unstable individual.
    Only to discover he is the biological father who up to now played absolutely no role in my child’s life.
    Threatening to gain custody of my child if I do not give him money.
    I cannot allow this as he is unstable , and a drug abuser and resorts to threats and blackmail.
    After my child was born I was attacked by him again , trying to escape I fell and had mild injuries to my hands and legs.
    On another occasion he tried to steal my phone which fell and broke.
    Up to this day he still demands money from me threatening me with the custody issue.
    I cannot trust him with my child.

    Please help

    1. Good day
      You have a right to go to the Police and the Domestic Violence Court. He can threaten, but the court would decide what is best for the child.

  21. Hi, i want to leave my husband but he is threatening to have me locked up if i take the kids? We have been married for 16 years of witch i have always worked for him in his bussinesses, so now i have no income and he says for that he will take kids because i cant provide for them? What is the chances of him taking my kids away? Or getting me locked up if i do leave with kids? I have asked hom for over a year for a divorce but he forces me to stay, and i did message a man now he is saying because of that i have no rights? I have raised my 3 kids everyday most times he worked far and was not home much, untill reacently, can i loose my kids?

    1. Good day
      The law looks at what is best for the children. If you can care better for them with the father paying child support, then the law would order so. For the rest of the questions, we advise you visit the Children’s court and discuss it with them. Without more information, we do not want to guess the answers.

  22. Hi there,

    My wife took our 7 motnth old baby and left the house and moved back with her parents after a heated argument. She now refuses to leave me alone with my daughter. I cant spend time with her. What am i to do

    1. Good day

      You may approach the Children’s Court for assistance. They can make an Order for you to have regular contact to your child.

  23. Good day

    I am an aunt and my niece is 13 year s old. We leave in the same residence with both her parents but I have been taking care of her since she was born, Financially, emotionally and all her school needs are taken care of by me. I am currently in the process of buying a house and ever since she was about 5 she has been telling me that when I move she wants to move with me. Her parents are alcoholics and use her SASSA money for their own entertainment and she benefits nothing from it. I am willing to take her with me when I leave to go to my house but I am worried about the parents giving me trouble and disturbing her peace because they only seem to remember she is their daughter when they wanna use her for their errands. The parents have never been known for being reasonable so sitting them down for this is not something I think will even help. Both mother and father have a habit of terrorizing and threatening her if she doesn’t follow their absurd instructions. I’m not really looking for custody but rather a legal way of protecting her from them and if that results in custody then I am ready to take the responsibility. The child is my brother’s child.

    I there a way I can do this that is going to be beneficial for her?

    1. Good day

      As an interested party, you can approach the court for an order that you be given those rights. The Court would decide what is best for the child.

  24. Good day my husbands daughter is 18 and completing matric. Her mother Is mentally unstable and her family contacted us in December to advise she was coming to stay with us. For a month we tried to get her into a school closer to us but none would take her being in matric. Her stepfather contacted us to say she would stay with him and she was happy to do so as she never wanted to stay with us. In April her aunt took her in and told us she was taking care of her as the stepfather was unstable and she would take care of her needs. We have faithfully paid maintance from birth and her medical aid and half of all additional costs relating to schooling and health. Her aunt is now trying to force us to pay almost R200 000 as they are claiming we are shirking our responsibilities and the amount we pay is neglible the child is refusing to live with us as she claims she does not get on with her father and are threatening to sue us if we don’t pay exhorbitant dental and tutoring fees. They live a very wealthy lifestyle. My question is, as the child is 18 and refusing to stay with us where all her needs will be cared for, can the child still sue us for more maintenance even though she is willing staying with someone who is not a legal guardian or parent?

    1. Good day
      The child is an adult. This is so as she turned 18. However, the parents must support her until she is self-supporting. She can, of course, decide where she wants to live. It is best you discuss this issue with a lawyer face to face as it can become complicated.

  25. I broke up with my partner, we have a two year old son. We are married out of wedlock but living together, I lobola and we were traditionally married but not yet legally signed. I read the Children’s Act of South Africa (38 of 2005) and I qualify in all the requirements I have to meet as an unmarried father under section 21. What is happening now is my son lives with both his mother and grandparents’ house. I take him every Friday to Sunday. I approached the court because last month I was denied access to my child and told to appear in court in August. I want to fight for full custody of the child because I want him to come live with me. How can you assist me or advice me?

  26. Hi i have a 1year old daughter and unmarried. Father and I split up. I let him come to my house to visit and spent time with her. He lives about 2hours away. He wants to have her for weekends but i do not feel comfortable with that, he and his family lives in a very dangerous area and i need to protect my daughter. He does have great parenting skills either. Drinks and drives etc. I still want her to see him but i will not rest if she goes away from me. How will I protect my little baby?

  27. Hi i have a 1year old daughter and unmarried. Father and I split up. I let him come to my house to visit and spent time with her. He lives about 2hours away. He wants to have her for weekends but i do not feel comfortable with that, he and his family lives in a very dangerous area and i need to protect my daughter. He does have great parenting skills either. Drinks and drives etc. I still want her to see him but i will rest if she goes away from me. How will I protect my little baby?

  28. Good day
    I have a 12 year old son the father was absent frm birth till he was 8 when he came back to claim back.As a mother thought of my son and it will knly be fair if I put our differences n put the child first.Both familes met to discuss way foward.He paid all charges even changef the childs surname visits him whenever he wants and supports the child very well.Fast foward the father is married npw want to take the child tp permanently stay with him.

    Please advise
    Kind Regards W

    1. Good day.

      The Law looks at what is best for the child. If the child would be best cared for by you, then that should be the case. If the father believes that he care for the child best, then he has to prove that to the court.

  29. Good day

    I am still with my wife and we have a 6 month old daughter. Things between my wife and I are not looking good. I think we will head to the divorce court soon…. I would like to co parent. what is my rights as a father

    1. Good day.

      You and the mother have to come to an agreement as to how parenting should take place. Each family is different and each child has different needs. Neither you nor the mother has greater rights over the child than the other. However what is best for the child is of paramount importance.

  30. Good day.
    I want to file for sole custody of my son,he is 1y6m now and after me and his dad broke up(my son was born out of wedlock and me and the father never lived together),he hasnt cared for his son since.
    He saw his son 3 times in a period of 5 months,he does not maintain contact with my son,he doesnt ask to see him,or ask how it is going with my son. Ive given him the opportunity to be in his life since after the breakup,told him he was allowed to come fetch him everyday if he felt like that was what he wanted to do. But he never did. He refuses to pay maintenance as well,even after i keep asking but recently bought himself a new car.
    I cannot afford to pay for all my sons stuff so my mom has to help out. I just want to know if there would be a possiblilty that i get sole custody, just to make all the decisions regarding my son, as his father has now shown no interest in being in his life, neither has the fathers mother.
    What are my chances. Please help

    1. Good day
      It looks like you are already exercising sole custody over your son. I also presume you are making all the decision. However, should it come to issues where a guardian’s consent is required, then you may require the father’s consent. For example, an application for a passport. If you want sole guardianship, you would need to apply to the court. If it would be in the child’s best interests, the court would grant it.

  31. Hi

    I have a 15 yr old niece currently placed in home by court order. She has stage 4 brain cancer and her mother (my cousin is a heroin addict currently in prison). My aunt who was taking care of her before had a stroke and was paralyzed by it . Not long after that she was removed by a social worker and the court order states that she has no parent/care giver suitable to take care of her. At the time of her removal I was living with my ill aunt and asked the social worker removing her if its possible for me to take care of her. She then told me that it would not work since I’m living in the same home she has been removed from. I had mentioned to her that me and my family had been planning to move and she said we could revisit the idea once we have done so. Its a year later that social worker is no longer on her case, i have moved but the idea has not been revisited. My aunt the only close family member to my niece has recently passed away so there is no one left for her to go home to. The foster home she is in is a horrible place she has since started smoking cigarettes and done may other things. It is not a place for a child living with a chronic illness. After a visit today they told me that she has been refusing to take her meds. When I discussed it with her, she told me she is tired of being there and would rather die. I don’t know where to begin to help her. I’m a single mom with 2 young kids of my own but I would like to take her in. what would be the best and also fastest route in doing so? The court order states that it will be reviewed after 2 years and I don’t think she would be able to stand another year in that place. Could you please advise me on what to do?

    1. Good day
      We advise that you approach the court again and advise them about the situation. They should relook into the matter ASAP and decide what is best for the child.

  32. Good day,

    My husband has been asking for a separation for quite some time , i ended up agreeing and moved from the property we lived in to my mother’s house.We have have been separated for a year now,his girlfriend moved in when I moved out and they are now expecting a baby.He is forcing my kids to like his girlfriend and has even made her baby sit them without informing me.The kids are are very unhappy about this,they dont like her and they have expressed that they dont want this baby that is on the way.I want to file for a divorce,i have been financially maintaning these kids since birth,they are now 13 & 7 years.What are the chances of getting sole custody for children when divorcing ?

    1. Good day

      Sole custody is hard unless there are very good reasons, therefore. It must be in the children’s best interests. You make a case for primary custody/care. It is best to consult with a social worker for advise if sole custody would be best.

  33. Hi there
    I got divorced about 3 years ago. According to the divorce order granted by the court as the father i have custody of the child every second weekend as well as every alternate holiday. The order also states the maintenance i should pay. About 18 months ago my contract ended and as a result could not pay every month as i have been working on and off only on shirt contracts. My ex would not let me see my son when im suppose to and only sends him to me when she has an inconvenience in the last 2 years i saw my son about 5 times only. She has never stuck to the divorce order please what is my recourse in this matter

  34. Good Morning,

    My boyfriend is divorced and there has been a lot of friction since the boys were forced to go live with her. His ex is very toxic in that she is refusing to let his boys who are 16 turning 17 soon to see him. She says they dont want to see their father but he really wants to see them, can he force them to see him? They don’t have a valid reason for not wanting to see him but they are extremely influenced by their mother and who has turned them against him and his current partner. Please advise what would be the best course of action.

    1. Good day
      We advise that you speak to a social worker on this issue. A professional needs to look into why the children are not interested in seeing the father, despite what she or the mother thinks or says.
      The children are quite old, so forcing them to see a parent, if they do not want to may not be best if other alternatives have not been considered first. Even then, one must look at what is best for the child.

  35. Good day
    Me and my wife are in the process of getting divorced we have 2 minor children who stays with the mother as I have moved out of the house. My children are 6 and 10.The court has appointed the family advocate because of the fact that my wife do not want me to see my children although I’m am paying maintenance. This process has been going on for more than 2 years she refuses to have joint custody as she wants sole custody. The family advocates office according to them has appointed a social worker to investigate this issue but its been more than 2 years and I still have not been visited by a social worker iam calling the office of the family advocate every week and they are full of excuses than the social worker has resigned or is on leave and as I say it’s been more than 2years now what am I to do as my wife is denying me to see my children. I’m from Cape Town please help in this regard.

  36. I want to file for sole custody of my son aged 13. There is no parenting plan in place. He was born out of wedlock. My son stayed with us when he was 2 years old and one day his mom just took him, because we refused to to pay her for letting my son stay with us. She then simply dumped him by his grandmother that has looked after him since. The grandmother passed away 2 months ago. He now stays with his aunt in the same house. His aunt has no custody rights pertaining to him. His mom is on drugs, has 2 other toddlers and stays with her boyfriend in a 4x4m Structure. She has no interest in our son and hasn’t seen him in months. She does not contribute in any way. My son is unhappy in that house, he wants to stay with me. His aunt, uncle and cousins abuse him emotionally, verbally and financially. I am able to care for him and do not want any financial assistance from them.

    The problem is that my son is with me NOW AND DOESNT WANT TO GO BACK. I am able to put him in a better school right away. I am happily married, able to provide him with a loving, stable and caring environment.

    Is it possible under these circumstances that I can get immediate custody? I am not prepared to take him back. Should I go to the police station and give an affidavit? Should I approach the court? Should I appoint a lawyer? What are the chances that I can succeed with immediate custody?

    Can you please respond urgently?

    Thank you

  37. I am in the process of a divorce but my husband refuses to agree to a parenting plan. He says he isn’t available for mediation either. He is not involved in any of the decisions pertaining to our child and has never paid any maintenance. He doesn’t want to agree to a visitation schedule. He sees our child when he feels like it without any informing me of his visits. Sometimes he disappears for months. Can I get divorced without a parenting plan? Will the courts award me sole custody because he is unwilling to co-parent?

      1. I want to file for sole custody of my son aged 13. There is no parenting plan in place. He was born out of wedlock. My son stayed with us when he was 2 years old and one day his mom just took him, because we refused to to pay her for letting my son stay with us. She then simply dumped him by his grandmother that has looked after him since. The grandmother passed away 2 months ago. He now stays with his aunt in the same house. His aunt has no custody rights pertaining to him. His mom is on drugs, has 2 other toddlers and stays with her boyfriend in a 4x4m Structure. She has no interest in our son and hasn’t seen him in months. She does not contribute in any way. My son is unhappy in that house, he wants to stay with me. His aunt, uncle and cousins abuse him emotionally, verbally and financially. I am able to care for him and do not want any financial assistance from them.

        The problem is that my son is with me NOW AND DOESNT WANT TO GO BACK. I am able to put him in a better school right away. I am happily married, able to provide him with a loving, stable and caring environment.

        Is it possible under these circumstances that I can get immediate custody? I am not prepared to take him back. Should I go to the police station and give an affidavit? Should I approach the court? Should I appoint a lawyer? What are the chances that I can succeed with immediate custody?

        Can you please respond urgently?

        Thank you

  38. I would like to know that do i have to contribute 100% on kids as a father aftet separation or we go certain percentages as parentsk

  39. I have been divorced for 2 years and have joint custody of one child. Their dad and i have a parenting plan in place he has every second weekend half long holiday and one short holiday. My child often does not want to go
    Recently I moved 60km away from my original residence and the father agreed to the move prior to me moving, he also signed the new school applications and was happy that we were moving away from a busy dangerous town to a quiet town. He was impressed by the school and said it’s a good school, I also moved from a small apartment to a bigger house where the child can have their own space.
    He is now refusing to pick up the child for his weekend visit and says I must drop and collect the child every second weekend, I said he can can collect her on the Friday and I will collect her on the Sunday in order to split the costs but he is now threatening to stop paying maintenance as well as go to court (not to apply for custody) but just because he wants to intimidate me.

    Their dad and i have a parenting plan in place he has every second weekend half long holiday and one short holiday. My child often does not want to go

    There is nothing stated in the agreement about me moving so what are my options legally?

    1. Good day
      The terms of the Parenting Plan, which we presume was made an order of the court must be followed.
      Now, seeing that you moved, and things are different, we advise that you approach the court to change the parenting plan. It is best you consult with a lawyer on this issue.

  40. Hi, I reside in Gauteng, my son was born in 2014.
    My mom is his custodian taking care of him since he was 6 months old due to health reasons, he is now 100% fine.
    I left his mother 2.5 years ago, due to relationship matters, she then ‘kidnapped’ him and refused to bring him back, therefore we went to court to get a court order from a family advocate, stating my mom would be the custodian – which we managed to agree on, seeing that he was still unable to go to a creche due to health reasons.

    My son is starting Grade RR this year, I however feel that I need to fight for Sole custody, as I feel it would be in best interest for him.
    My fianceè and I are considering to move to cape town, however we are not sure how to start this legal matter as we wont go without taking my son along.

  41. Wife decided to leave the house out of Anger that I always please friends, drink alcohol. Upon this time she decided to leave and visit her Mom. The time when I told her that I need to visit home which is 365ks away, she decided to come back. I have been a breadwinner at home and I lost a job on 2017, ever since that time have been busy with piece jobs to get kids going at School and provide meal for the family. Now new years eve we all gathered at home where we living with other tenants until after midnight I had to go back to sleep. The MORNING of the 1st/2nd, She decided to completely leave me back to her Mom place. She came following day without any approval to pick up kids away from me and came violently with Police and no communication with me that this is her intentions to pick up kids. She went also to apartment with same police in my absence without any Court order and start draining house empty by taking furniture and most assets that was in the room. I was also informed by the other tenants how she threatening her coming back. My complaint is that she is taking the Law in her hands and abuses me of power to protect women that she can do whatever she wants and can’t stop her. There are no summons that have been served that am aware of divorce etc…during this letter from sheriffs that she came with and left for my attention…

  42. Hi, I am a mother and divorced for just over a year. We have a 2 year old daughter which I take care of 100%. The divorce papers clearly stated that my ex husband should contribute R3500 to towards child maintenance , he has never done that since the divorce was finalized in May 2017. Now I want full(Sole) custody of the child. What must I do?

    1. Good day
      We advise you see a lawyer on this issue. Otherwise, you need to make an application to Court. The court would order what is best for the child.

  43. Good day

    I’m in the process of a divorce and I have a 7 year old daughter.

    What is my chance of getting joint custody but permanent residency with me. We moved to Jhb about 3 years ago from Cpt and I’m the primary care taker of our daughter as the mother travels a lot and work late hours. I want to relocate back to Cpt and my job has arranged a transfer for me.I want to take our daughter with me as we have no family support structure in Jhb.


  44. Hi there
    My ex wife and I got divorced 3 weeks ago she took my 2 kids without informing me and God knows where they are she refuses to let me speak to them also I think she is trying to relocate with my kids to Johannesburg the courts are closed I don’t know how my kids are doing the police do not want to help me what can I do to gain access to my children I am desperate at this moment

  45. Good day as the time indicates.
    My ex-wife passed away a month ago and her mother (my ex mother inlaw) doesn’t want me to take my 7 years old daughter to come live with me and my 14 years old son in JHB.
    Can I just go and take my daughter away from her ? I’m a JHB resident and she’s in PMB and I don’t the financial resources to be up down in court between JHB and PMB. My ex mother inlaw is unfit in every way. Please advise.

    1. Good day
      Although a grandmother does not have parental responsibilities and rights over their grandchildren (unless a court orders so), it would be traumatic for a parent to collect the kids where issues and altercations could occur. There are also other factors, for example, schooling and so on. The best is to obtain the services of an attorney/advocate to assist you with this matter. Or visit the children’s court for assistance.

  46. Good Morning

    My ex wife just notified me today that each and every time i need to spend time with my kids i must sign an affidavit and get it stamped at the police station, according to her she says its the law.
    I am a pastor and every time i would ask to take my children to spend time with me or my birthday its a hustle. i am seeking advice as to how can i have time with my kids as half the time its either i am denied the right to see them or be told that they all going away.

    1. Good day
      If there is an order that you should see the kids at a certain time, the mother must let it happen. She would then be in contempt of court. We advise that you approach the Children’s Court ASAP, or get an attorney to deal with this matter.

  47. Hello
    My ex-husband is now a resident in Malta. How does custody work (I live in Stellenbosch with my daughter, Lisa who is 15.

    1. Hello
      You and your ex would have to agree on contact arrangements that would work. Maybe Lisa can fly down occasionally or he visits her in South Africa. She can also regularly have telephonic contact with him.

  48. Good day me and my daughters dad has been living 2 gether for a year and he was always verbally abusing me even infront of my daughter he was always drinking. He came home 1 morning and it got physical the police asked me if I wanted 2 lay charges against him so I didn’t becuz my daughter is 5 and I didn’t want her 2 c her dad like this we were not maried at all he moved out and took most of the things that was his I am working for his mother for 3 years now but I resigned becuz of the situation. He moved back 2 his mother his always drinking and taking my daughter 2 bars under the influence of liquor I even recorded him where he was verbally abusing me becuz he denied it. Am I aloud 2 move 2 a nother town with my daughter 2 give her a better life her dad gets out of control when his drunk and I don’t want my daughter around that

    1. Good day
      The principle in our law is that you should act in your child’s best interests. This applies to both parents. You are allowed to move unless a court orders otherwise. It is best you discuss this issue properly with the father beforehand.

  49. Good day. I am a mother of a 5 year old boy. I need sole custody of my son. The father has not been part of my sons life for 5 years neighter paying mantenance. My son is happy with hiw things are now as he does not know his biological father. What can i do?

    1. Good day
      It looks like you are already practicing sole custody. If you want it in an order to avoid possible future issues, you need to approach the Court for such an order.

  50. I’ve been divorced for over 2 years from my 8 year old daughter’s father. I’m the parent of primary residence and the dad is the alternate. We share guardianship according to our parenting plan.. ie making decisions re schooling and life changing events. Although my ex has always paid child maintenance and all school fees, medical (as per divorce decree) couldn’t I afford accommodation for my daughter and myself since I’ve been jobless and unable to find employment. I’d to ask my daughter’s father whether she could reside with him…on the condition that I still see /care for her everyday, has full access/keys to his house and would rent a room walking distance from his place in order to access the child frequently. He travels a lot..and has always requested me to stay over at his house whenever he’d leave for several days. After one month of our verbal agreement (it was never discussed via lawyers or written down).. I basically moved in with him and my daughter and has resided under his roof for more than a year. He was offered a lot of money to “resign” from a high position a few months ago and moved his office to the house. My role of primary caregiver has become “useless” to him … since he is home all the time…doesn’t travel any more and has made it clear that he wants me out of his house. He claims that since he has offered residence to our daughter.. and clothed and fed her … that he now has full rights to keep her under his roof. He threatened to have me arrested if I shall try to move her out with me. He has called my parents and put pressure on them to take me in… and let me live with them. They live in Jhb. Am I allowed to take her with me to live with her grandparents (they live a good life in a safe and stable environment) without his consent? He will NEVER let me leave with her if I asked… and if I leave without her… he’ll apply for full custody on the grounds that I willingly left my daughter to live with him. Please help!

    1. Good day
      This is a complicated matter which we advise you discuss with a social worker. Both you and the father must act in the child’s best interests. If it is best for her to say with the father, then that should happen. Otherwise, you may consider going to the Children’s Court to assist in resolving the issue. They will look at what is best for the child.

  51. If my fiance wants to apply for full custody of his 2 girls currently living in Cape Town with an unfit mother, do we use form 2 to apply?

    1. We advise you approach the Children’s Court who would provide you with the correct documents, and advise you of what supporing documents you require.

  52. My boyfriend pays child support towards his child that he had with an ex, the child is now 1 years old and he now wants to see the child every weekend how can he go about this because he use to go and visit every week during the week,, but he now wants to spend weekends at our home with the child and the mother refuses

    1. If the mother does not agree, we advise that he approaches the Children’s Court for assistance. He needs to approach the court where the mother and the child resides. They would assess the matter and decide what is best for the child.

  53. Good Day

    Please advice on how I can get full custody of my children I have a domestic violence protection order.

    1. Good day
      We suggest you approach the Children’s Court in your area for such an order. The Court would hear from both parents and then decide what is best for the child.

  54. Good evening,

    I need advice regarding my son’s situation.

    I have a 6 years old son with my ex-girlfriend, i never paid damages but luckily enough i have been supporting my son from day one till now. The mother of a child is not working/never work before so I’m the only parent who is supporting him.

    The problem here is that whenever the is disagreement between baby mom and his granny, they move him to stay with his great grandparents and evertime this happen he have to dropout of the school and go to new school the following year, of which this started in 2016, 2017 it happened, this year it happen again. My concern/problem is that this will have an impact at a later stage to my son and yet his great grandparents were brave enough to say to me “his mother and grandmother didn’t finish school so for him not going to school won’t be a big issue”. That is where i realized that non of them sees the good in him.

    I’m supporting him financial, we have a great relationship me and him, i call him ± four times a week, he have strong relationship with my siblings as he normal ask to go to visit them every times school closes or visit me.

    His mother have a tendency of living his with her cousin sister who is doing grade 11 and go for a week, and her cousin will always complain to me and i understand why cause she is a school kid not a nanny.

    Now what i was thinking and need advice on, will i be doing the right thing for filling for a custody for my son so that he can go to school and stay with people who will have his best interests at heart?

    1. Good morning
      We agree with you, it may be best for the child if you make an application to the Children’s Court to be the primary caregiver of the child. The Court would decide what is best for the child. A child needs a stable life and also, the focus needs to be placed on education.

  55. My sons father keeps threatening me and saying I abandoned my son ( we share equal custody) when we separated I left the home for 2 days without my son to find a home for us he considers this child abandonedment but I saw him on my scheduled days and continue to pay for his well being.

  56. my Sons father and I currently have a parenting plan in place which was drawn up by my sons father. We share equal custody and I pay for the school fees , extra murals , extra costs for school as well as half the medical. We both buy clothes , food etc when my son is with either of us. I want to know is it fair that we share 50/50 but I’m paying more? Also he put in the plan that he is primary care giver. Nobody witnessed it and it wasn’t set up with a mediator. I moved out and two weeks thereafter we did the plan and set it up. He earns more money than me but has a tremendous amount of debt. Any advice ? Thank you

    1. Good day
      You must pay according to your means. If he earns more, he must pay more. It depends on the debt amount, and what it was for. We suggest that if there are issues, it goes to a mediator to resolve.

  57. Good day,

    I just want to find out the following:

    My son who is turning 17 the 20th of November’s baby was born on the 6th of November (we are doing paternal tests now, as he was not in a relationship with the mother, he also just turned 16 and the mother was 19 at the time of conception). I want to find out that if he is the father of the baby, what you would suggest we do regarding his parental rights as well as maintenance ( he does not work as he is too young) I understand that maintenance then must be paid by the grandparents.

  58. Good day.
    My name is Enrico.
    Father of 3.
    Girl 6 years old
    Boy 8 years old
    Boy 17 years old.
    Would need some advice please.
    Me and my wife recently got a divorce.
    She is the primary care giver but the 2 kids I have with her, lives with me since May 2018.
    I would want to be the primary care giver for my kids as she don’t have time for them
    She fetched them after every second weekend sometimes only for 1 day.
    Her reasons for that is she works alot and work weekends as well. Well I work alot and I make time for them which she don’t.
    What can I do?
    Is it possible if I can get some info via sms?
    Contact details: 073 626 3372

    Thank you kindly.

    1. Good day

      It seems that you are currently caring for the children as their primary caregiver. If you want to formalise it with a Court Order, you need to make such an application.

  59. Hi
    I hope you will be able to advise me
    We are busy with an immigration process,
    My husband that I am currently married to(for 6 years) ,I have two girls from a previous relationship, but they only know my husband as their Daddy,My husband and myself have a child together as well,I went to children’s court in 2016 and my x’s right where removed by the magistrate, and I have the court order sating that,my x has never contested or ever called my girls,they don’t even know what he looks or sounds like,would the children’s court order be enough to immigrate,or will I have to go to high court? Thank you in advance

  60. Good day,
    My son is now 7 years old, we moved out from where the father and i lived as a married couple when my son was 2 months old. The father was physically and mentally abusive. I have been raising my son on my own for the last 7 years, the father has made an attempt only once to meet his son. He does not pay maintenance (his parents give me R 1000 pm). He is in and out of rehab and is currently in rehab. I would like full custody of my son because every time I need to send him to a school, get a passport (any personal documents etc.) then I need to get consent from the father which I can never get hold of him because he’s always in rehab and his mom does not want to ask him to sign anything because it will upset him and make him use drugs again. I don’t know what to do. He has been absent my son’s entire life, surely I don’t need to ask someone who is not present for authorization to do anything? Please tell me my rights and how I can fight this. Thank you.

    1. Good day

      You would need to make an application to the High Court to have sole guardianship rights over your son. The court look as to what is best for the child. It is best to discuss an issue like this with a lawyer first.

  61. Hi. I have a child born out of wedlock, separated with the father. I consented to him staying with the child (3yrs) together with his parents as I was still studying in another city and they assumed all financial responsibilities, I visit during holidays and all was well. I found employment out of the city post studies and requested the child stays with my aunt (both my aunt and him/his family are in the same city) as I can now afford to maintain the child. I am currently solely responsible for the child’s financial needs, as the condition was they would not maintain the child if they don’t reside with him and he doesnt, although he has full access to the child. Now the father is threatening to take me to court for full custody because my employment is out of town and because my son does not stay with me but my family, and yet he has no source of income. I would like to know the implications of the law on this matter?

    1. Good day
      If the matter goes to court, the court would have to decide what is best for the child. There are endless factors to consider, those you mentioned and those what the father and you will still bring out. At the end of the day, what is best for the child would be the deciding factor. All we can do based on the information is guess. And we do not want to do that.

  62. Good day

    i have a child with my ex gf shes almost 4months old.before the child was born the mother wanted to abort the baby and she requested money from me so that she can abort my Daughter and i refused so now she is punishingme because i couldn’t be part of her pregnancy since i refused to give her money to that the baby is born i pleaded with her to be part of the childs life and support my daughter with everything.and i will check on my daughter everyday from her and when i am around il come see her since i work far from everytime i get time off work il come and see her.during the 1st month when the baby was born the mother refused me to be part of the baby’s life until she realised that baby stuff are costly and since shes not working she will need support then 2nd month she told me that she had changed her mind about me being part of the baby’s life and we can co-parent.but now every month when i ask about my daughter shes mostly moody with me and when i ask her to send me pictures of the baby she doesn’t until i have to remind her more than 4to 5 times that i want her to send me my daughters pictures and she becomes angry at me and starts shouting at me and telling me how much she doesnt care about me and she doesnt care if im part of the baby’s life or not and how much shes tired of me.her big problemis that she never admits when shes wrong about something , instead of us working out the problem she opts out for fighting me.its like everytime i have to dance to the drum of her music.truth be told i love my daughter and i want her to grow happy and healthy but lately her mother is making it difficult for me to be part of my daughters life due to her drama she always creates.another issue i am having is that at her house they stay with her uncle who is mentally disturbed and when he smokes what ever he smokes he becomes a threat to the whole family including my daughter. until they have to call police and an ambulance so i feel that my daughter is not safe.

    id like to know what steps to take in order to have rights to see my child anytime and support her with everything she needs or what are my chances of having full custody of my daughter because i feel like im limited to my childs life? and my ex keeps on threatening me with taking me to court for child support ?

    1. Good day

      We advise that you approach the Children’s Court to assist you. The court would look at what is best for the child. So we do not want to guess the outcome. She has the full right to take you to the maintenance court. However, there too, the court would make a fair decision.

  63. Hi, will try make this as short as possible..

    My Bf’s ex has his daughter. There isnt really a legit parenting plan in place for anything.

    Stress points:

    a – Child is 6 years old
    b – Mother’s landlord called and said she hasn’t paid rent in 1.5 years and he is evicting her, and that she refuses to leave the property. (She now has squatters rights apparently)
    c – We have now challenged for Primary Residence
    d – Court date is November 9th, and upon attempting to serve the subpoena with police officers on 2 occasions, she has evaded both times. We tried consulting her for a convenient time, to which she said “I do not need to sign anything”, and gave us a runaround and evaded a 3rd time.
    e – The child is supposed to be in Grade 1 next year, which she will now be a slow learner since she hasn’t been in school for 1.5 years.
    f – The mother does not have a job
    g – The state and personal hygiine as well as cleanliness is appalling in the house
    h – She is relying on strangers (other residents) to bath and feed the child

    Social Workers findings:

    We took the social workers there to investigate and caught her off guard. She agreed to meet them to mediate parenting plans and issues, and evaded this last minute too.

    – Social workers stated and noted the following against the mother:
    • The mother needs psychological evaluation (They say she is angry and displays bad behavior which is bad for the child)
    • Unhygienic living circumstances
    • Child has had 8 teeth removed due to permanent medication and depletion of 12k medical aid savings in less than a year
    • They strongly feel that the mother has pre-recited stories with the child, and has brainwashed her against the father (ie. not wanting to visit daddy etc).
    • The mother at her own discretion decided no unsupervised visits at all for the father and child, and often denies him visits to her.
    • The mother only allows a 2 hour per week visitation to the father, and often let’s him down on visits.


    1. The mother has 2 other children, of which one was removed and given up for adoption due to neglect. The child was very young and should be between 18 and 22 years old now.
    2. The mother goes to ICU to nebulise the child every time she has a running nose etc. Eventually we had to mediate with the doctors for authorization from the father first for these visits as it was costing too much for petty things.
    3. The mother has run up an additional 7k medical bills over and above 12k medical aid savings, which the father is held liable for and is paying off in cash.
    4. The mother feels threatened by me (the gf) and repeatedly sent messages of harassment stating that the child will “Never be a part of our lives”.SW advised this is possessive and narcissistic behavior.
    5. The mother has physically stalked me on my vehicle, laughing and describing in vivid detail my every move and wherabouts to my BF 3 years ago. (never met this woman as said)

    we have been together for 3 years, and in this time I have never met the little girl, and his family has seen her twice. She is now 6 years old. The child did tell the social workers she wants to go with her dad to spend time alone with him, but that Cinderella had an evil step mother…

    Do we have a case for this? What are our chances of winning primary residence?

    What happens if she keeps evading the subpoena being served and doesn’t pitch on the court date?

    1. Good day
      The court would have to decide what is best for the child. We do not want to guess what the court would decide at this point. The court has ways of getting the subpoena served and will ensure that it is.

  64. Would the court award sole custody to a mother when the father of the child refuses to agree to a parenting plan, is inconsistent with visitation, refuses to divulge his address, has changed his contact numbers without informing the child’s mother, has never paid towards the child’s maintenance and disappears when decisions pertaining to the child need to be made. The father does not respond to any communication from the mother of the child nor the school regarding the child. Are these sufficient grounds for sole custody?

    1. The Court would only grant sole custody to a parent if it is in the child’s best interest. We do not want to guess on such an important topic. It is best to present your case to the best of your ability and then you would know what the court would decide.

  65. Hi

    I would like to know if my husband can get custody of our kids because I have moved out the house before divorce proceedings have begun. He has not contributed to much for the kids , he is also emotionally abusive and has the tendency of being physical on odd occasions.

  66. Hi, i am a mother to a beautiful 7month baby girl.

    Her father & I got a divorce recently as he was abusive and aggressive (had some issues) that I was scared would eventually affect my baby as much as it has me.

    I’m looking to move overseas to my family with my daughter but he said he won’t sign for me to take her.

    How could I go about getting her out ?

    Is it even possible?

    I have prove and witnesses to tje abuse which he even did while was pregnant please advise

    1. Good day
      You would need to approach the Court for an order that the father’s consent is not required for the relocation of the child. It is best you set up a meeting with us or a lawyer to discuss the process should you wish to proceed.

  67. My son had a child out out of wedlock. He pays all medical bills for both mom and baby and contributes to the child’s expenses as well. The mom lives with her parents and are not fair and reasonable when it comes to my son visiting the baby, or us as grandparents visiting/seeing the baby. They are very moody and only allow supervised visitation (her parents need to be around at all visits). There is no reason for this as my son has shown responsibility and want to be part of his child’s life in every way possible. He wants more access to his child and be able to spend more time with her. The baby is 8 months old not breastfed and he is more than capable of taking care of her with my assistance for a day/weekend etc. Can he apply for more than supervised time with his child and when the law states it’s in the best interest of the child, is it not in the best interest of the child to get to spend time and know her dad. He loves this little girl and it breaks him when the mother gets moody and verbally abusive towards him when he wants to have a say or be involved in his child’s life.
    What is the best way forward ?

    1. Good day
      Your son and the mother needs to enter into a parenting plan. For this, they need to see a social worker or psychologist etc. Is she is not willing to do so, then he would have to approach the Court. Looking at the facts, it may be best that he sees an attorney to assist with the process or feel free to contact us for further advice.

  68. Hi my child( 12yrs) is born out of wedlock and never sees the father. My child and I plan on moving to a diffirent country. I already have secured employment. The father has agreed to give an avidavit of consent. Do i still need full guardianship and where should I go to get it.

    1. Good day
      If the father is co-operating with the relocation, full guardianship is not necessary as long as he would continue doing so while you are overseas. However, it is always best to have a sole guardianship order in place should you relocate. It may be best to consult with us on this issue.

  69. Good Day,

    I would like to find out if it will be possible to obtain sole custody for my son via a letter from his father due to the fact he has no involvement in his life. Also he is going to be relocating overseas so will continue to have no involvement. I would like to have the ease of mind knowing that I can make all decisions for his life without having to get approval from his father, with regards to getting a passport as well as changing his surname to mine?

    1. Good day
      The letter won’t be of much use. We doubt the Department of Home Affairs would accept it. We certain they would require the father to be present for a passport application, even if you have a letter. What you would require is a court order. It may be best to discuss the legalities with a lawyer.

  70. Good day

    I am 28, at 20 I fell pregnant with my son who is 8 now I was never married to him and at the 5ime of my pregnancy I informed him and he tried to force me to have an abortion, as time went on I tried to make him part of the pregnancy and my sons life and he showed no interest to this day my son has seen him twice in his entire life he lived with his parents and they and he only phoned once a year I sued him for maintenance and medical aid for. My son. Now his parents moved closer and only starts making contact around school holidays to try and convince my son to go with them. To his father to visit but between holidays neighter he or. Them shows any interest and this only started when they found out that I have someone new in my lifeand they never ask me directly if he can go with. What are my rights can I refuse and can I get sole custody because of their lack of interest because this hurts my son alot to spend time with them and then not hear from them for. Months

    1. Good day
      For sole custody, you must convince the court that it would be in the child’s best interests. We advise that you speak to a social worker on this issue. If the social worker advises that you apply for sole custody, then you should do so at Court.

  71. Hi. My boyfriend left me when I found out that I’m pregnant. Things changed drastically. At the time I wasn’t earning a salary neither am I on medical aid. I’m 4weeks along. In this time he hasn’t been around. Now and then I would receive a message asking how I am. I’m having a high risk pregnancy and are on bed rest. I have no support structure here. When I’m in pain I need to suffer thru it and has ask him on several occasions for help. My question is. Can I request that he sign over all parental rights

    1. Good day

      As long as he is the biological father, he would have certain rights, although it may be minimal or limited. One cannot sign away parental rights. A court of law can, however, take it away. You would then have to approach the court.

  72. Good day. I have split up with the mother of my 2 year old son. We had been traditionally/customarily married and living together even before the child was born. She has taken the child to stay with her mother’s home (grandmother to the child). She does not stay with the child because she works far away from her mothers house and she only visits the child once a month. I insist that the child stays 2 months with me and 2 months with them and she wants me to only visit the child only on weekends. The distance between where i stay and where the child stays is so far that weekly weekend visits are not sustainable. Kindly advise.

  73. Good afternoon, please help me here.
    I broke up with my baby father , after our break up he continued supporting the baby until I told him that I won’t allow the child to come to his place since well the child is only 1 y 3 months. If he wants to see the child he must come to my place. He refused and stopped supporting the baby. But I didn’t take the matter to maintenance court since I’m working.
    So today he send the police at my place with a letter that state he want to see his child whenever he pleases. Hence I told him that he can see the child only at my place. What are chances of me winning in court

    1. Good day
      The Court decides the matter on what is in the child’s best interests. The Court is not really concerned with what the parents think is best. Regarding your matter, it may be a good idea to speak to a social worker to advise what is best for the child. It may very well be possible that contact takes place away from your home.

  74. A month ago my wife informed me that she will be filing for divorce (irretreavible breakdown); she has made it clear that she will not go for couples therapy. She still has to file though.
    Our kids are aged 2 and 4, married in COP – my wife has “chased” me out of the house (joint ownership), saying that it is too difficult to have me in the house. This forced me to move into my sister’s spare bedroom, 30km away.
    1) How does custody work until the divorce is finalized?
    2) How does child support work until the divorce is finalized ?

    1. Good day
      You have a right to contact your children pending the divorce. It is best you both come to an agreement. There are many factors to consider, the kids schooling, the parents’ working hours, where you stay etc. So each family and situation is unique. The same applies to maintenance. You need to look at the needs of the kids and the means of the parents. If you cannot resolve it, then it must be taken to court.

  75. What is the first step to get sole custody of my 2 children. They stay with me. I am the primary parent as per our final divorce decree dated 2016. Signed and Sealed. I do not get any financial support and he only sees them over December holidays. I now think it will be best to rather obtain sole custody. Kindly advise.

    1. Good day
      You would have to make a Court Application to vary the Court Order. If the current court order provides with a different process, like mediation first, then that must be followed.

  76. I have a 12 year old daughter who lives with my ex, her mum. I was there when she was born and we all lived together as a family for the first 2 years of her life. Our relationship suffered and I moved out but continued to stay in contact and ensure my daughter had everything she required. I also started paying maintenance and continue to do so. I have always been a part of her life and she knows who I am. I have always struggled to have visitation as her mum tries to prevent this as much as possible.
    I have moved out of South Africa and am trying to get my daughter to come over to visit me here in the UK. Her mum is again restricting any visitation I can have with her, even though my daughter wants to come over.
    What rights do I have in this regard? I have been paying maintenance since she was 2 years old and have always kept in contact with her. How does the fact that I live in the UK affect visitation of my daughter? (I have been going back to SA every year for her Birthday, but wanted her to come here now as she is older).
    Thanks for any advice/ direction in this regard.

    1. As a biological father, you have rights. You would have to prove to the court that it is in your daughter’s bests interests that she visits you in the UK. We advise that you see a lawyer, to assist you with such an application. Otherwise, you welcome to call us on 0214243487 to a legal advice consultation on the issue.

  77. Good day I would like to know what is the best way forward for me and my son. He was born out of wedlock and his father and I separated when he was 2yrs . I then moved away from Natal to Gauteng. my son is now 9years and the last time he saw his father was when he was about 4yrs old. His father has not helped me financially all these years . I’m the primary care giver bit have issues due to my son’s surname being the same as his father. I often require his consent for many things and this process is never easy . How do I go about being the only one who makes the decisions for my son ?

    1. Good day

      The solution you require might be an order of the court stating that you are the sole guardian of the child. For this, you would have to approach the High Court.

  78. Good Day,
    My ex and i have been divorced for a year. Our settlement is that we have joint custody of our 4 year old son and I am the primary care giver and he goes to his dad every other weekend. He is to pay R3000 pm maintenance AND he fully liable for 100% school fees. However he has only paid R3000pm to which i have been paying the school fees with. The rest i have had to pay for. The father twice now withheld my son from me. The second time around i had the police come with me to fetch him as the father refused to bring him back to me. His mother and him hurled insults at me infront of the police which left me quite shaken. He has always been aggressive and very abusive (verbally and physically) and has a criminal record along with a drug history. My son is busy being diagnosed with adhd which his dad is blaming me for. The school has advised that when my son is only with me he does very well at school and when has been with his dad he acts up and is very angry and aggressive. I want to apply for Sole custody but not sure if i have a case? Please advise how i go about it?

  79. I have a young child age 3 unmarried and seperated. My childs father has a daughter from his previous marriage and she physically abuses my little one and i have asked the father when he has visitation to have it one on one and he refuses. I do not want my child around her as the father does not supervise and my son advises how she punches him in the back etc. Am in my right to say he cannot be around her

  80. I pay maintenance to the amount of 3000 per month I have applied to have my name put on my son’s birth certificate and I buy clothes and medicine on an adhoc basis as well as toys entertainment, and contribute towards swimming classes school holidays programs and concerts. My son is 3, I see him on Wednesdays and one day on the weekend from 9-4 what are the chances they court will grant an increas in access in order for my son to sleep over , I have been asking so has my son but his mother refuses. And how is my current situation different from having a 50 50 custody I would like to be able to make day to day decisions regarding my son’s life.

    1. The principle the court applies is what is in the child’s best interests. You can get anything you want, as long as you show that it is best for the child.

  81. So I have a question .. my boyfriend had a child out of wedlock about 3 Years ago. My boyfriend and the child’s mother does not get allong. Long story short the child lives with his grandmother on his mother’s side because the mother simply is not taking responsibility in letting the child live with her she just has no interest in her child . so my boyfriend appointed a private social worker to assist in his fight for full custody . The mother and grandmother is struggling to keep to the social workers process in this custody case.. the mother on purpose delays the custody case by ignoring and making excuses to delay social worker visit or even a meeting that the social worker can meet the mother. My boyfriend has been fully cooperating with the process. What I want to know is what is the process in a custody case if the mother is non complaint ?

    1. This must be brought to the court’s attention by your boyfriend. The court would have to decide what is the best way to expedite the matter.

  82. I have been wanting to leave south Africa for a while, but due to my child’s father I can’t.
    He is an alcoholic and yes I have some anger issues (but I teach kids and have never had a problems)
    He has now stated that if I give our child his surname he will allow me to travel.
    Should I go this route?

    1. You need to do what you believe is best for your children. We cannot advise you to change their surname or not. This is up to you. But if he refuses, you can approach the Court for consent.

  83. Good day, I would like to know what are the procedures to apply for sole custody of my daughter age 15. Currently my ex-husband and myself shared custody and he pays maintenance however, she stays with me and all other necessities I provide, he moved to cape town and never informed me, thus visitational rights was defaulted as how does she spend alternative weekends or holidays with him if he don’t want to give a forwarding address if im able to pay for a bus ticket from Kimberley for visits (as he will never pay for this). Telephonic contact he don’t keep and even don’t try and call on my cell to speak to her never mind send her a birthday card – thus as far as those rights he defaulted. Recently, I asked him via phone he should consider giving me full custody of our daughter and if he does agree and signs whatever documents he doesn’t have to pay R500 maintenance anymore (his always 1-3 weeks late). 25/7 I was handed over a directive from the sheriff of the court to appear in maintenance court in terms of Reg 3(1) read with Sec 6 and 44 of the Maintenance Act99/1998. What does this mean? And where do I go regarding sole custody applications? court date 17/9/2018

    1. Good day

      For full custody, you need to approach the Children’s Court or High Court. The Court would then decide what is best for the children and hearing from the parents. It i is best to make use of a lawyer or speak to one beforehand.
      On the directive, it is best to call the court and ask why they sent it. It could be an application by the father for a reduction. That is only a guess.

  84. Hi. My husband never married the mom and the mom got married and constantly asked my husband to allow her now ex husband to adopt their daughter ( age 4) as she would never feel part of family with diff surname (although they made sure the daughter was registered under the mom’s name and my husband was not mentioned on the birth certificate ,My husband was denied visits and was never allowed to hug, touch or even mention that he was the biological father. the mom often made appointments and never arrived, this continued to happen although my husband always paid maintenance on time. The grandmother also place us under pressure and then the mom promised my husband that if he allows the adoption, he will be allowed to see their daughter, she then also arrange for my husband to spend some time, so he finally after year decided it would be in the daughters best interest to grow up feeling part of family, then they vanished and told everybody my husband threw his child away. the mom made contact over the years to tell my husband that his daughter wants to meet him, and then after visiting, telling him the daughter does not like him and does not want to see him. they even got a protection order against us because by now my husband and I have 2 daughters of our own and they were in same school than half sister (2010). the protection order was for my kids and us to stay away from the daughter and she also told the court that she worries that we will ask the daughter to get in car with us and we will tell her lies. My husband always respected when asked not to contact anymore and then the sick game will start again, knowing that he will get hurt again he never ever denied or stopped the mom when contacting him as he misses his daughter every day in his live. 2014 ( daughter was 13 ) and yet again after visiting us, the mom decided to block all contact and we were again threatened us to be locked away, the daughter contacted my husband without the mom knowing and also sending him letters that she misses him. we again received message saying that the daughter has now decided that she does not want contact anymore so we respected that. now at age 16 she made contact by help of grandmother and wants to meet the dad. wanted to know why we never tried to contact her.. ( luckily we kept all correspondence) now we want to know… should the daughter want to come and stay with us.. what age can she decide to do so ( my husband no longer her legal guardian) but we received info from grandma that daughter going through difficult time, mom in new relation ship and seems she is in the way. the adopted dad moved on and also new relationship. we want to do the best for her, but just want to know what is our rights ? (2014 the Protection order was set aside as we proven that she miss use the justice system to play games)

    1. Good day

      When she turns 18, she can decide what she wants to do as she would then be an adult. The father may approach the children’s court should he want contact. They would assess the situation and determine what is best for her.

  85. What does the Law say…what is the maximum amount of nights a 4 year old can visit his father?

    1. There is no minimum. It all depends on what is best for the child. It is possible that the child can live one week with the mom and the other with the dad. Or stay 6 days with the dad and 1 with the mom. It depends on the circumstances and what is best for the child.

  86. i am divorced & my sons are 3 & 9 years old. their father hasnt paid maintenance or seen them since December 2017.
    how can i proceed with getting full custody of my children?

    1. For full custody, you would have to show the court that it is best for the children involved. That would be a court application. We advise that you see and attorney on that issue.

  87. Can a step mother take on the biological mother in a custody battle, I have been the primary care giver of my step daughter for almost 6 years. The child is now 10 years and Last time she physically resided with her biological mother was when she just turned 4. The child has been residing with my husband and I (with our 4 year old son as well) for the past 4 years- previous two years she was residing with my mother in law and visited us. The biological mother has visitation excess during school holidays. Recently my husband filed for full custody (due to the threats and interference we were getting from the BM) but didn’t go through with it after the court ordered the biological mother to stop.

    But now the child is visiting the BM for the school holidays – the BM sent my husband a text yesterday telling him to instruct me to refrain from calling the child for the duration of her holidays. The court order only ordered no “communication between the BM and SM”. Nowhere was it stipulated that I should not contact the child.

    I’m now considering applying for custody as the primary residential/primary care giver although I’m the step mother.

    Will I stand a chance in court?

    1. The father would be in a better position to apply for custody. However, you as an interested party can also do the same. If you can prove to the court that your application is in the child’s best interest, you would be successful.

      1. I am a child abused my mom she has gotten away with it twice. Signed off my fathers rights. I have been speaking to him he will take me in. Can I file a case?

  88. Hi , i’m a father of 5year old son , he stay with his mom my ex girlfriend, i give her R500 per month for my son , now she want me to pay R1500 per month for one child and i cannot afford that amount of money , so now what to do.

  89. Good day, hoping i can get some form of clarification. My ex husband is pressing me for split custody one week with him one with me. For the past two years they have been in my care and only go to the dad most weekends, if there’s 4 weekends in a month i have them for 1 if there’s 5 i have them for 2. Our divorce agreement states my children stay with me and go to him weekends. My heart is bleeding at the thought of having my children go to him one week at a time. My daughter is only 3 years old, my son is 9. Today he sent me a calendar with the weeks marked his and mine. Am i obligated to agree to his demands two years later? The divorce agreement is as he requested, i didn’t argue any of his requests. Please advise how i should handle this :(

    1. The Divorce Agreement is what you both should follow if you cannot come to an agreement otherwise. If he is then not happy with the divorce agreement, he should go to court and ask for it it be varied. he would have to prove it is in the children’s best interests.

  90. Hi

    My son has a son soon to be 4 months old, out of wedlock, the mother left my son but took my grandson with her, my son support everything financially “as she or her parents cannot afford a baby in the house “, however the girl whom he had the baby with lives with her parents for now but their house is up for auction, can my son apply for full custody?
    Thank you

    1. You son can apply for full custody. However, the success of the application would be dependent on whether he can convince the court it is in the child’s best interests.

  91. My daughter (K) decided to divorce her husband after 11 months of marriage. They have a 4 month old baby girl. K already moved back into my house a month ago. The father would come past on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays. He didn’t work during the entire pregnancy, but did start working a week ago.
    Now he threatens that he will sue for full custody, should she decide to divorce him and indicates that he will get the baby, as he is the only person working.
    My daughter worked before she got pregnant, and supported him.
    At the moment, I (grandmother) am paying for a creche (while she’s looking for work) and also pay all expenses regarding the child.

    K used to live with her husband at his mother’s house. The house is filthy (rats for pets) and his mother would sporadically turn off the water, etc. if she’s upset about something.
    In my house, K and the baby has a separate room and bathroom, and I assist by taking the little one to school in the mornings, help with bathing etc.

    Is there a possible chance for the father to gain full custody? The mother has up to now been the primary caregiver and has support from our family.

    1. The facts presented clearly is in favor of your daughter. The Father would have to prove that it is best for the child for him to have custody. If the father admits to everything you say, or your daughter can prove it and prove that the father cannot care for the child, then she will most probably win the case.

  92. Good Afternoon,

    I, mother of a three year old Girl, who’s grandmother (on Dads side) had kicked us out when baby was 4 months old(2015), only recently made an effort to see her(2018), once over December 2017 and once again on her birthday April 2018, he is meaning to come down again by next week but demands that he spend time with her alone, I agreed to this when my boyfriend (form of transportation) was around but is now working abroad and I now cannot get to wherever they’ll be in case of an emergncy, but contacted him well in advance to notify that I will now need to accompany them to any destination during his visit so that I am around for moral support as she does not have a stable relationship with him. He is now threatening me with sole custody and court dates as he has been paying odd maintenance but doesn’t want me around when he visits? The verbal abuse is ridiculous! Am i wrong for demanding that I go along as he is basically still a stranger to her? I feel once a relationship is formed i can allow her traveling via airline to visit him etc. (i reside in KZN and he resides in JHB)

    1. Your query is not necessary a legal one, but one dealing with what is best for the child. You would know what is best. Do what you believe is best, and if he has an issue with that, it would be best that the Court resolves the issues.

  93. Ive been divorced for 3 years and live in a 3 bedroom town house with my 4 children

    In the near future there may be a chance that i might be moving provinces to a plot that has a bigger house with more space.

    Their dad and i have a parenting plan in place he has every second weekend half long holiday and one short holiday but also doesnt stick to it as he never takes the kids for the holidays only the weekends.

    There is nothing stated in the agreement about me moving. How do i go about doing this correctly?

  94. goodday, my daughter was born october 2014, and wa staying with me untill she was about5months, she then moved to my sister but got ill and came back home. her father was given me some money but not much less than 1000 every month.
    in agust 2017 my daughter moved in with her dad because of school, they travel together everyday for school and see her on weekends, her school fees is 3210 a month that her dad used to pay, and since january 2018 i have been paying her school fees, i am currently unemployed but do small jobs that help me put the money together to pay her school fees. he now has full custody of the child hoever she visits every weekend.
    he has threatened me in all sourts of ways saying he will take my daughter and i will never see her again, calling me names. we went to court did a court order and everything, and i told them i am going to dubai to work in a few days and nobodyhad a problem with that, and then recently i gave him my dates of tracelling and he has made it his mission to stop me from going, giving me court maintance court dates that clash with my travel time and i dont know what do. i am stressed and cant believe a man that works and gets pai 3X what i will get wants to get me to court for this….please advise

  95. Good day. Im devorced. I have joint guardianship of my son but not joint custody. His mother moved out of the house one week before he was born. He is now 7 years old

    She has been living with a new boyfriend for two years now. I have noticed that she would refer to her partner/boyfriend on certain documents as the stepfather. They are not engaded.

    Primary resedance is with his mother and he visits me every second weekend.

    Two Q’s

    1) what is my chance of changing the legal custody to joint. The physical custody will remain as is.

    2) whay does the law say about the fact that there is referance made to her boyfriend/partenr as the stepfather enven though they are not engaged or married.

    1. Good day

      Custody is a factual issue. So changing the wording would not affect anything. However, if you wish to change, it you would need to approach the court who granted the Order. Regarding the use of the term step father, I cant see that the law would have an issue with it, unless it is detrimental to the child.

  96. Good day
    Im a mother of 3 kids, I separated with the father of my 1st born when he was about two years old. the father has not seen him or supported him financial. my son is now 9 years old.
    Im now married and my husband is a foreign national. we would like to take my son with to visit my husband’s family like we do with my other two kids.
    the Dept of Home affairs requires both parents when applying to a Passport and the father must also give me his rights for travelling with my son. I have tried to contact the father but he doesnt want anything to do with any of my requests.
    This is breaking my Son’s heart as he always asks why he is left behind whenver we visit my husband’s family.
    I dont know where my Ex lives, all I have is his cell phone number that I got from his brother.
    what must I do in this setuation?
    Please help

    1. Good day

      It is best to seek a lawyer. The court can give the consent for the passport and for leaving the country. You have a strong case.

  97. I have a step son of almost 18 years old and is a massive problem.He has been kicked out of three different schools and out of two jobs in the last three months.He says he is untouchable and the law protects him.He was in court for damage to property and pushed his mom around and now he does not want to go out and look for work.This guy is destroying our marriage and our health.We have been to 5 different social workers and two pshycologists and nothing has worked.Is there any legal way we can ask this guy to leave home that we can try to get our lives together

  98. I am the mother of 2 kids aged 9 and 8. Their father and I seperated in 2014 (we were engaged to be married), when they were 5 and 4 years old. We drew up a settlement agreement back then which detailed what my responsibilities were and what his were.
    Since the split he has gone south – spent ridiculously and has since been blacklisted / busy losing his house / never paid any of his own bills etc etc. He has since moved in with his family whom I do not speak with and cannot trust and is in the process of sequestrating himself.
    The agreed amount was R5000 per child for maintenance.
    After a year of paying fine, he came to reduce the maintenance, which I thought was fair as it was quite a high amount (this is an amount he suggested initially) The maintenance was then verbally reduced to R8000 per month.

    Other details of the responsibilities he had were:

    1> He needed to take out an educational policy for them for R500 per month.
    2> He needed to have life insurance

    He then lost his job because of theft last year August, which has caused me to be forced to move in with my boyfriend, even though his house was not large enough for all of us.
    He very quickly got another job, and then knew that he was going to be fired at the beginning of December already but only ended up telling me this news on the 5th of January this year. (I had moved into my own cottage at the beginning of December as me moving in with my boyfriend was putting too much pressure on our relationship)
    I was then forced to move back in with my boyfriend at the end of January.

    From August last year I obtained a court order for him to pay maintenance at an agreed amount of R6000.
    He has since decided to start his own business at my expense.

    The childrens expenses are R14 000 per month, and he only needs to pay R6000 of that. It seems he has made this clever move to “start his own thing” so that I am unable to keep track of his finances (He will do jobs for cash – money that will not appear on any payslip anywhere)

    I have recently come to know from a very reliable source that he is abusing drugs. This would be the last piece of the puzzle for me and explain why he has spent so drastically, never paid any of this own accounts, his health has deteriorated significantly.

    The kids were going to him each Thu and every second weekend.
    I have phoned him and told him that he is not allowed to have them sleeping over there anymore until he can prove to me that he is not on drugs. He says I should obtain a court order for this (which to me means that he obviously has something to hide)

    Am I within my rights to do so? I have told him that he can let me know when he would like to see the kids and he can then have a supervised visit.

    He has not kept to any of the agreements – ie doesn’t have life insurance, doesn’t contribute or save for their education….

    (Other things to note is that when they are in his care there isn’t any form of discipline – ie they watch TV, {They have even watched a sex scene on TV when they were 5 and 6 because he just leaves them with his hard drive whilst he is sleeping}, to me he really is not a good example for them as he seems to think that it is ok to sleep till 11 and then go to work etc)

    1. A parent must act in a child’s best interests. But sometimes, the advice of a social worker would be best to follow. On this issue of contact, please speak to a social worker about it. If they advise that you should refuse, then you have an expert third parties’s advice on the issue.

  99. I married a woman with a five year old boy and currently living with them. I’m fully taking care of the child with everything inclusive of school fees, medical, transport, etc. The biological father requested the court to assist him with custody of the child. The mother of the child said that the child father has never been supportive to the child. The mother and father of the child were never married, they were just partners until the separated, What are the chances of him acquiring full custody of the child considering that the mother is now married to someone else. Please advise

  100. hi i am Xoliswa i have a problem with my baby daddy i have a 8 month baby girl he has not been supporting her for since she was born, when i was pregnant he was supportive the problem persistent when i gave birth he only gave 500 that all every time when i am asking for cash for the baby he will promise to give when the month end he will come up with different stories,than it changed and said it not his child i told him to do a DNA test he promised to do it but he never did i went in one of the court here in Johannesburg to request a DNA i was told that i will have to apply for a maintenance 1st they gave a maintenance form to take home and fill in and i told the baby daddy that because he does not want to support his child am putting him on maintenance he apologized and promised to support the child he supposed to start supporting the child last month the month ended he came up with stories saying he is sick i told him i will take him to court he said it fine with him i advised him that if he want a DNA everything will be on him but he did not reply

  101. Good day

    I am the primary care giver to my two children. My ex has moved two a new home and has not informed me where. Do I not have a right to know where my kids are going to. I do not know if the home is safe and whom he is living with. Can I withhold the kids until he informed me of his new address.

    1. It will be wrong for us to advise you to without contact based on the limited information you provided. We advise that you see an attorney ASAP.

  102. Evening, I am legally divorced but I want full custody of my kids. I have a 6vyear old and a 2 year old and by the looks of it they are not happy having to sleep over every second weekend. How do I go about getting fill custody of my kids. Do I have to go to the children’s court with regards to this, any other suggestions…

    Kind regards,

    1. You may approach the Children’s Court or the High Court. We advise you make use of an attorney. Either way, the Court would look at what is best for the children.

  103. Good day,
    I had a son out of wedlock who is now 12 years old. The mother has not worked for the last year and a half so i have paid maintenance, school fees, after care fees clothes etc . She is now taking me to court for more maintenance but has not paid her share for approximately 4-5 years. My son doesnt want to stay there anymore and would like to come and stay with me permanently. She has in the last year got engaged to a man many years older than her who, i believe can not handle my son and my son does not get on with him. They decided among themselves at the end of last year to change his school without me knowing and he is struggling a little.
    I have two questions
    1. Is my son old enough at 12 years old to make a decision on where he would like to stay?
    2. he is really unhappy there at the moment and i think it is in his best interest to stay with me where there is more stability and guidance as a young man going into his teens.
    Thank you

    1. Good day
      Your son is old enough to give his views. However it’s one of the factors that must be considered. At the end of the day what is in eve best interest must be upheld.

  104. 1. If a child lives with his mother and great grandparents in great grandparents house, from Monday to Friday and is cared for by great grandparents as mother works, and great grandparents are retired on a small pension, father earns double the mothers salary, is child maintenance paid to great grandparents by both parents of the child?
    2. Are the great grandparents considered the primary caregivers?

      1. And who is child maintenance paid to by the father, to mother or great grandparents? As great grandparents are supplying the child with all his needs and child lives in their house?

        1. That issue must be discussed with the great grandparents and the mother. If the grandparents are paying for all the needs of the child, then it would make sense that the monies should be paid to them.

  105. I was never married and after giving birth to my son , the father and I split up. We live in South Africa and my child is now 7 years old. The father pays maintenance but only sees the child about twice a year. I am applying to immigrate to the U.K. to give my son a better future as further studies in South Africa would not be a possibility on my salary. The father has given his full consent for us to go and agrees it will give my son a better future. I live with my parents as I cannot afford to rent a place of my own They are getting old and are wanting to move into a smaller place and retire, but cannot do this with my child and myself living there. I have a very low paying job with no promotion possibilities. The father of my child stays at a boarding house. Would full custody be given to me if the father gives his consent to giving me full custody as it will give my son a future and I will be granted residence into the U.K. I have been told that full custody is the only chance I have to be able to take my son with me and live in the U.K. My brother lives there and he will be sponsoring us and I have had numerous job offers. Your advice would sincerely be appreciated

    1. It seems that you already have full custody as you care for the child all the time. You would require the father’s consent for the child to leave South Africa. But once you there, then you would be exercising full custody.

  106. My daughter has sole custody of my granddaughter. She could only find work in Cape Town. The father gets the school reports etc. but he is withholding maintenance and medical treatment for the child because he demands to know where they live. He lives in Vanderbijlpark

    1. The father has a right to know where his children lives. Be that as it may, if he does not pay support, the mother should approach the Maintenance Court.

  107. Been divorced for 6yrs. Got divorced after being married for 15 yrs then he told me he is gay!. I never refused him access to our kids now 14 and 9. He has always pd maintenance. We were always on good terms. The live with me and they visit him and his new husband every 2nd weekend. I remarried and also has a son of 4. My husband is german so he tends to get loud when disciplining the kids. He at times also swears as when he gets angry he speaks with out thinking. He absolutely loves my kids. Does alot for them he always makes sure that they taken care of. He takes the oldest 14 my son fishing etc boys stuff. As his own father being gay is not big on outdoor activities. Now my ex has gone to court and asked that the kids live with him because of my husband being verbally abusive. Everything has been dragged totally out of proportion by the ex.both kids doing very well at school. Social worker was appointed. My question is what can i do? And my daughter 9 refuses to go live there should it be so decided. She absolutely adores her step father. I have always told my son that he can go live by is father anytime he wishes to do so as my son is like his dad very materialistic and dad and the new husband has a much more luxurious live style than us. What can i do? Once social worker hands her reports in? Will i be notified of court date how does it wor k and would i need i lawyer?

    1. Good day

      We advise you to see a lawyer. If the matter is in court, you would be notified of the court date. Also, you should get a copy of the report. The court would have to assess the matter and decide what is best for your kids.

  108. Kindly advise

    I am a therapist seeking advice for a client.(with permissions)
    Parents divorced agreeing on shared custody of minor child +- 5years ago where the mother holds primary custody.
    However, the child has never resided with the mother.
    The father and his mother has been the minor child’s primary caregivers, nonetheless the father has always paid child support as agreed by the court.
    Where the mother only takes visitation of the child periodically, when she wants to- for a weekend or holiday.
    1.How should the father proceed to change the ‘akte van dading’ in order to receive primary caregiver status.
    2.Can the mother legally remove the child from the home?
    3.How can my client get ‘temporary custody’ to prevent disruption of the child current living situation and schooling (if the mother wants to enforce their agreement now) while he’s filing?
    Thank you

    1. Good day

      Your client would have to apply to court for the variation of the Court Order. He would then apply to be the primary care-giver.

  109. Hi! I have a 17 month old daughter. My wife is filing for divorce now. My daughter is very much daddies girl and I am basically the mother you could say. We decided to settle on joint custody or 50/50 shared custody but her lawyer says it had to say on the contract that she is the primary care giver. What is the advantages of being the primary care giver? Can she decide for instance to move away out of town and I would then not be able to see my daughter? She has bipolar but is a good mother. She has unfortunately also been committing adultery. Is it worth fighting in court especially if she grants me shared custody? Would I benefit from being primary care giver? Neither of can really afford a fight but I’m willing to do whatever it takes that will be in my daughter’s best interest. Please advise?!

    1. Good day

      We would advise that you see an attorney as soon as possible to assist and advise you accordingly.

      The Primary Care giver is the parent with whom the child primarily resides with. Usually the settlement agreement or consent paper or parenting plan will deal with issue of moving decision making etc.

  110. I have a child out of wedlock, the mother of the child is the child’s legal guardian, however she uses the child and keeps him from me whenever she feels like it… i have supported the child from birth and have been consistent in his life, i’ve grown weary of not being able to see the child based around the mother’s moods and am considering taking the matter to court seeking joint custody or something similar which will enable me to see my son regularly, i support my child regularly and can prove it. What are my chances of succeeding? Thank you

    1. We would not advise based on an email what your chances are. But if you feel that it is in the child’s bests interests, we would advise you to proceed. It may be best to speak to a social worker on the topic first.

  111. I have a son who was born in 2015 and then I got married after and I have kids in my marriage and my son was staying with my mother sister after my mother passed away . I always have a problem with my child’s father for not wanting to support my child and he working he is a principal he even denied the child is his and after some time he agreed that the child is his, me and my aunts we taken him to court and the date was given but he never came and we just things as they are and raise my child without him. After some time he agree to do some responsibility even though it was not enough we accept what he gave us and the child was visiting him also. Now he stopped the reason being I asked when is he returning the child when he was visiting him. This year January my Anty ask if he can assist him with the child schools fees and books and sent him school quotation he only paid R 500 out R2000 we asked for. Now “I ask if he knows if you don’t pay for child mantainance you will be blacklisted” jokingly he replied that he will send me court for full custody of my son because I’m staying with him. I want to know if is it possible that I could lose custody because I’m not staying with my son and I always visit him and buy things for him even though I am not working but he failing to do that as a father even though he is working

    1. It a matter like this goes to court, the court would have to decide what is best for the child. We do not want to guess and tell you yes or not based on the limited information. It is best you speak to a lawyer to fully assess your matter.

  112. Hi. I am thinking of separating from my husband. We have a child aged 1 year 3 months. He is threatening to take me to court if I leave. If he dones take me to court for custody of our baby, I am unemployed and cannot afford a lawyer. Is it necessary for my to have a lawyer or can I defend myself. And Is going to court and defending myself, going to cost me anything? I have no source of income. And he is threatening. Me with this cost in order to make me stay. Please advise.

  113. Hello. Father of 1 – Divorced for 5 years. Child has been with mom mostly, and with Dad Wednesdays and every 2nd weekend since divorce.

    dad pays R4000 pm with a 10% annual escalation

    arrangement has now changed at moms request – Dad has child 7 days, then mom has him 7 days.
    a 50/50 split.

    School fees, aftercare and medical = R3200 pm total.

    can dad ask to reduce the maintenance to 50% of the childs costs = R1600

    Mom earns 50% more than Dad – lives a life of luxury – and Dad struggles to get by, but never misses maintenance payments.

  114. Hello, the father of my 2 daugters (12 and9), were ordered by court in 2010 to pay 1400- back then he earned R5000. He made payments via debit order and left his job in 2012. Since 2012 he did not made any payment for 5years but he had a carpenter job for that time. In 2016 he got a job at Anglo Americas and only in 2016 Decembr he started making payments now and then and bought the kids clothing 3 or 4 times. Since last year he always had stories of not getting salary and only pay R1500 every other month. He has no interest in the kids whatsoever, as he told me some time ago to please keep them away from him as he wants nothing to do with them. He blocked their numbers on whatsapp and calls. I asked him to give more towards maintenance but he refuses to do so. What is my chances to get sole custody for my 2 girls as he shows no interest in knowing them. He dont know what grades they doing, their birthdays or any detail about them, the only thing he knows are their names. I would also like to know what the chances are to change their surnames to mine. Please help

  115. Good Day, I got divorced on the 16th Nov 2011. I was very young and didnt know better however my ex jad a lawyer that his family paid for and pleaded poverty on maintenance. At the time I was unemployed as I just had our last child and struggle for 2 years to get divorced. After all the struggle I eventually got divorced and was forced to sign a parenting plan I never agreed or dicussed but was told to sign it. We have 2 kids who are now at the age of 13 and 8 and since the divorce he only paid R250 per child per month till I applied for an increase in 2014 and it was then increased to R600 per child per month. Since then I have worked very hard to better my lofe and the wellbeing of my kids as they are taken good care of they have medical cover and go to good achools and have a very balanced life. All of which I pay and have been paying for years. He only pays his R1200 per month for the last 4 years and has never increased it. He doesnt contrabute to schoolfees, travelling, school clothes, stationary, Summer or Winter clothes, entertainment, medical aid etc I cover all these expenses and I have a 15 year old daughter I need to see to as well. His R1200 only covers part of my electricity per month thats it. My partner and myself covers all the kids expenses as he refuses to assist. According to the parenting plan I am the primary custodial parent but he gets to see his kids every 2nd weekend and holidays which he has failed to do or detch them since Oct 2017. My 13 year old doesnt want to go there anymore as he says when they go to their father they are dropped off at strangera homes and he leaves them there all weekend. I dont know where they are and not allowed to call them or make any contact on their weekends with him. He has remarried and begged me to lower the maintenance as he needs to get married and buy a house. However he lives in a very dangerous area where ppl are killed, shot, raped and murdered everyday. I feel that he is not contributing to their wellbeing or giving them a better quality of life. I can and I have been and frel that they dont need anymore distractions yet they need to be supported and have a good role model. He causes so much anamosity and emotionally wrecks these kids as he has violent tendancies as to why we got divorced. How do I go about applying for sole or full custody of our kids as this seems to be in their best interest. Thanks

  116. Hi There. The father of my children has been unemployed for 3.5 years. We got divorced as he became addicted to drugs. He still does not contribute anything or work, however I think he is off the drugs. The high court ruled that he should pay R500 per child per month, he does not do this as he does not work. I would now like Sole Custody over my children and I would like to change their last names to my maiden name. What should I do?

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  117. I have a question my son was born on 2015 oct his father never supported him until 2017 march.through i felt like i got an unfair deal.because the amount he pays is not enough.and he only buys clothes on june and december.he is still young and grows everyday which means the clothes get small after every its summer and he has no clothes for summer,he only brought clothes for what i want to know is y does the court rule like dat.knowing im unemployed as a mother and cnt support the child.and y do they say i will R380 of social grant with maintenance.whats the use of going to court for the benefit o the child bt still the matter goes according to the benefit of the father.

    1. Good day

      The court should have given reasons for why it made such an order after listing to all the facts and evidence from both parents. If you feel the court was no correct in its decision, then you should appeal the order. It is best to have an attorney assist you with it.

    2. I want to file for sole custody of my son aged 13. There is no parenting plan in place. He was born out of wedlock. My son stayed with us when he was 2 years old and one day his mom just took him, because we refused to to pay her for letting my son stay with us. She then simply dumped him by his grandmother that has looked after him since. The grandmother passed away 2 months ago. He now stays with his aunt in the same house. His aunt has no custody rights pertaining to him. His mom is on drugs, has 2 other toddlers and stays with her boyfriend in a 4x4m Structure. She has no interest in our son and hasn’t seen him in months. She does not contribute in any way. My son is unhappy in that house, he wants to stay with me. His aunt, uncle and cousins abuse him emotionally, verbally and financially. I am able to care for him and do not want any financial assistance from them.

      The problem is that my son is with me NOW AND DOESNT WANT TO GO BACK. I am able to put him in a better school right away. I am happily married, able to provide him with a loving, stable and caring environment.

      Is it possible under these circumstances that I can get immediate custody? I am not prepared to take him back. Should I go to the police station and give an affidavit? Should I approach the court? Should I appoint a lawyer? What are the chances that I can succeed with immediate custody?

      Can you please respond urgently?

      Thank you

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