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How to win your child custody and access court case – Tips and Tricks

ByOur Lawyer

How to win your child custody and access court case – Tips and Tricks

How to win your child custody (care) and access (contact) court case – Tips and Tricks

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Legal matters concerning children are never simple. There is no manual that one can pull out for answers. This is so because all matters concerning a child are different. This is where the wisdom of experts becomes of use. What follows are some of the tips and advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorcetricks provided by Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf, a family law expert with more than a decade of experience on family law, divorce, child custody and child maintenance matters. Read on to find out some tips and tricks of the trade. Valuable advice is given on what to do through the child custody court process. Visit here for tips and tricks on how to win your child maintenance case.

All families are different, with their own dynamics, challenges and issues. A 10-year-old child in one case with living conditions, parents, siblings and mental development would be different than that of another child. All that one has to work with is the concept of a child’s best interests. That is the challenge. How do you determine what is in the child’s best interest? Well luckily, that is for the experts to decide. The Social Worker, Psychologist or Judge would have to make the call. What this article does is provide some tips and tricks on how to present a case that the experts would more than likely follow.

Parental Responsibilities and Rights

Child custody is only one aspect of a parent’s Parental Responsibilities and Rights. There are a few articles written by Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf on the topic of Parental Responsibilities and Rights. A simplified definition would be that Parents have an obligation to look after the child, feed and care for him or her, and the right to have contact and a say over the child’s life. Due to the concept of parental responsibilities and rights being so broad, this article would deal with the term, custody. Please note that a better legal term for custody would be care, and for access would be contact. However, for simplicity, we shall use the terms custody and access to children.

What mistakes parents make

There is a range of mistakes parents makes when dealing with child custody matters. This article deals with the most common mistakes made.

Badmouthing the other parent

When a couple is together, either through marriage, or a romantic relationship, their shortfalls are not an issue. For example, if a father occasionally smokes marijuana, or has shady friends and family, the mother did not have an issue with it when she met him and even had a child with him. However, when they break up, then she has a lot to say about his character. advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceWhere in the past she had no problem with the father taking their child out with his friends, and now she does not want the father to even see the child.

If the father is truly a danger to the child, then of course, the factor is relevant. But it would be a waste of time to focus too much on issues you were aware of before the child was conceived, and now make an issue of it.

Saying the father cannot have contact due to not paying adequate or no child support

Child support is the right of the child. And every child should obtain adequate child support from both his or her parents. However, if a parent does not pay child support, that is no reason alone to refuse him contact. Or, should he pay more child support, he would receive more contact. Maybe there are legitimate reasons why he cannot pay child support or the amount the parent wants. Maybe what the mother is claiming is excessive etc. Be that as it may, if a parent does not pay child support, the maintenance court should be approached for assistance.

Should a parent refuse the other parent contact to his or her child due to not paying child support, notwithstanding the non-paying parent having parental responsibilities and rights to have contact with that child, the refusing parent is clearly showing a disregard for the law and what is in the minor child’s best interests.

Stop paying child support due to being refused contact

As stated, each parent should maintain their child according to their means. If one parent refused another parent contact; this does not afford you the right to not pay child support. You should not withhold child support, but pay it and approach the relevant court or authority for assistance and relief. This would show that you are a reasonable parent knowing what is in the child’s best interests. This the court would find favourable in your child custody case.

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Only now the father wants to have contact

There are many reasons why a father who did not play an active role in a child’s life in the past can now play such a role. This would generally be in the child’s best interests. Whatever issue the parents had in the past, should not affect the child’s right to form part of his or her parent’s lives. However, this is a very strong pill to swallow. Many a time, a mother cared for a child alone, since birth, rearing her, educating her etc., and fifteen years later, the father wants to come on the scene, and show off to the world what an awesome daughter he has.

However, whatever the facts are, if a parent now wants to form part of a child’s life and it would not harm the child and be in his or her best interests, then the law would enforce that right. Therefore, the focus should not be placed on the fact that the father was an absent parent, but more on is his entry in the child’s life and in her best interests.

Other examples of mistakes parents make in child custody cases

There are many examples of mistakes parents make in child custody cases. As each case is different, a trivial factor in one case may be the deciding factor in another case. The trick is, focus on what is best for the child holistically. The judge will only give you so much time to present your case, so use it wisely.

What to focus on in Child Custody Cases

Holding what was stated above, now we need to deal with some tips on how to win your (and not lose) child custody case. Most of it is common sense, but which is often times overlooked.

Outline why you can care for the child better than the other parent

It is very important to focus on your capabilities as a caregiver. Can you care for the child better than the other parent can? You can’t just say so, you need to prove it. And how do you do that? The past is always a good starting point. State how you cared for the child since birth up until now. Demonstrate your parenting skills with how you nursed your child to health, made her get good grades. If you show that you have cared well for your child, the court would not change the primary caregiving roles very easily

Outline the problems that would arise if the court does not follow your custody recommendations

The court is limited to what you tell it. In other words, do not take for granted that the Court knows certain facts. Also, do not think that the court would feel sorry for you or sympathise with you and guess the facts in your favour. If the facts are not stated on record, you cannot presume the court knows it. Therefore, whatever information that is relevant, state it either in your affidavit or in court should you testify.

Get experts to assess and agree with you

The courts most of the time, follow the recommendations of experts. The judge, magistrate, and the attorneys and advocates are lawyers and are only skilled and trained in law. A social worker or psychologist who assessed the matter would come from the right angle and advise the court accordingly. Therefore, try to get the situation assessed by an expert.

Final words on Child Custody Cases

As each child custody case is different, a case by case assessment needs to be made as to what facts are relevant. The focus is on relevance and not on fighting personal battles with the other party. That would get you nowhere. Focus on what is in the child’s best interests and you will win your case.

Have a family Law appointment with us

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advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceYou may set up telephonic or video consultations should you wish to do so. You can, therefore, stay in the office or on the couch in the comfort of your own home when dealing with us. We are therefore physical, online, set-up and ready to meet with you. Make your appointment online for a consultation today.

If you find any of our articles, free resources and posts interesting, or possibly useful to others, please share it on Social Media. Should you require any other legal services and advice, not related to family law, visit Private Legal. Or click here for the details of Cape Town Advocate, Muhammad Abduroaf.

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10 comments so far

ntombiPosted on10:42 pm - May 23, 2018

Hi there

I need assistance with a custody case

what are you fees and process for assistance.

BekelizwePosted on11:08 am - Aug 27, 2018

hi I need assitsance with my child maintenance issue though the mother refused to put me on the child birth certificate, nor allow a paternity yet I have been doing everything for the child please kindly assist

    Our LawyerPosted on11:22 am - Aug 27, 2018

    Good day. We advise you approach the department of home affairs for your name to be placed on the birth certificate. If they do not comply, you need to approach the court.

Mymoena abaderPosted on7:48 pm - Aug 27, 2018

To whom it may concern
I need advice on my 4year old granddaughter, every 2 nd week she overnights at her father’s place .she has chronic tonsillitis…so last weekend was her weekend there they had the child in the jaccuci at 7.30 pm .that evening when she came home Sunday she was normal but said she is very tired next morning she got up with high fever .on Wednesday we spent 4hours at RE.at Rondebosch where the pediatrician said her tonsils has to be removed due to severe infection .
She is due to sleep at the father this weekend he never came to visit while sick …
This child is very traumitised when she realizes she must sleep there …and a very picky eater so does not eat anything bearing chips when shes there ….i would like to make an appointment to discuss ….as the husband took my daughter to court to have the child to sleep over ..and the court just ruled in his favour we do not mind him taking the child but shes not ready for sleep overs our next court appearence is mid october ….i would like to have an appointment please
advise
Would like to make appoint

vhulendaPosted on8:42 pm - Sep 17, 2018

hii please i need advise my daughter’s biological father refused to give me consent of changing my daughter surname and he is not supported her he don’t even contact with her we ar not married even before but we separeted when my daughter had a 3weeks nw she is 5years old and she dont even knw her dad n his adress but im married from 2015 that men who married me is the one who fo everthng for my baby n she know him as her father so i want to change her surname to his stepfather wat can i do cause he dont want

    Our LawyerPosted on5:52 am - Sep 18, 2018

    Good day
    If he refuses and it is in the best interests of the child that her surname changes, then you need to approach the Court. The court would decide on the issue.

MeganPosted on12:20 pm - Nov 20, 2018

Hi I need help my step son mother refuses us access to son but always wants the 1300 every month school fees has already taken us to lawyer cause she doesn’t pay it husband doesn’t work and we are unable to pay full 1300 so we pay 500 on the outstanding 5000 school fees.son get left my her mother and mother stay with her boyfriend our son I can tell his feeling abandoned cause his starting to steal from us on days when he comes to visit which if we lucky I’d once a year what can we do the childs best intrests are definitely not on her agenda

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