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

How to win child custody cases, 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

We have an online appointments system which enables you to save valuable time and cut straight to the chase. There is, therefore, no need for you to visit our offices (unless it is best for you to do so, or is your most preferred option).
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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About the Author

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29 thoughts on “How to win your child custody and access court case – Tips and Tricks

  1. I find the given information good. Do have a great concern, my grand children boy 11,girl6 girl of 4 is present ly staying with me and their father while the divorce is still pending. The court knows about every detail about the children’s parents as well as the children. The 11year old are very unhappy with his mother. The court had an interview with him and suggested to assist him with some program. In the mean time the child do not want to be with his mother.
    What do we do

  2. hi my bf ex gf doesnt want him to see his four year old son without her he has been providing since birth but did not work for a year now he wants to see his child without her being present he is on the childs birth certificate what can we do

  3. I have a two-month-old son. he’s father 7& I are no longer together. The reason for that is because he was abusive towards me. Now, he does smoke marijuana (which I’ve never had an issue with) but he excessively drinks as well and whenever he is drunk, he is abusive. I’ve spoken to him about it multiple times during my pregnancy and even after our son was born but it went in the one ear and out the other. He constantly claimed that he would change & seek therapy, but he attended one therapy session and never went back. He’s always been verbally abusive when he was drunk and always used to threaten me with physical violence which is why I left him right after my son was born as he had started shouting at our newborn son whenever he was drunk and belligerent saying that he would harm him if he doesn’t “shut up”. Up until recently (on Christmas Eve to be exact) he showed up at my aunt’s house that I was house-sitting for and physically attacked me then pushed me and held me down on the bed, choking me as my son laid next to me. I want to get full custody because I don’t trust him around my son. What can I do?

  4. Goodday
    At what age may a child choose if he/ wants to see the biological father or take his calls?

    Our son is 8 and a half

    He does not want to take phone calls and does not want to see his biological father

    Does my son have an option ?

    If not at what age will he?

  5. Hi I have a 4year old daughter – the last time her father came to visit my daughter was for her birthday in November last year. He doesn’t matter any child support for almost 3years now and his response to that is because he doesn’t see his daughter. I have been in and out of court since I was about 7months pregnant for domestic violence getting a protection order but it never succeeded as he would convince me it will never happen again. Obviously it was all a big lie, the abuse continued to a point where my daughter has led such a fear and anxiety when others comes close to her because of what I endured in my pregnancy.. my daughter has her fathers surname and in 2019 I wantd to have it changed because he wasn’t an active father in her life.. I went to court but I felt so helpless as I wantd him out of our lives for good but the court enforced visitations for him . I told the court I don’t feel safe with him , for even in that specific day at court I remember the emotional abuse he put me through accusing me of all kinds of things etc. . Not to mention how he constantly threatens my mother and my family. That’s also the reason why he is not welcome at our home. . Recently I had a girlfriend sent me a text telling me how abusive he is towards her and how he tells her when he is stable he wants custody of his daughter.. so in order to prevent that i want to know how do I go about obtaining full custody of my daughter .. I feel even for my daughters own safety that visitations from him will not even do !!!!

    1. The law or court looks at what is best for the child. If you believe it is best for the child for you to have full custody, you would need to approach the court for such an order. The court would then make a decision after listening to all the parties.

  6. Good day, I have an 8 month old grandson and just found out that my son(his dad) is using crack cocaine and his mom(22 years old) does not send any time with the baby. They are unmarried and his partner is fully aware of his drug use and is blackmailing him to ensure that he stays with her.
    My only concern is that baby whom we give full time care for from morning till night from the day he was discharged from hospital after his birth.. The baby has fallen twice off the bed under the care of his parents. I need to find out what my options are .I want to help my son , however , he is in denial and is threatening to walk out with that baby. I’m afraid that if they leave , we will never see the baby again and we are worried sick that his care will not be a priority. Whilst I understand that a child needs his/her parents , his welfare is of my utmost priority. They are currently living with us cost free.

  7. Hi my name is Silindile, I have a problem with my father of my child. They asked to raise my child since I was going back to school to finish my matric. The she was was staying with them until I decide take her to visit my mom since she was insisting then. Then at home they suspected that my child was raped of which it was not the truth doctors confirmed that so now they want to use that to take my child away from me what can I do because I want her back with me and they refuse, they treatining me to involve police and the certificate has my name and surname only.

  8. Hi. I’m in the process of getting married to my American partner and I have a 5 year old daughter with my ex who has been mostly absent in her life but he’s name is on her birth certificate and she has his surname . He is now doing everything in power to stop me from emigrating with her even though he knows he doesn’t want her with him full time, this is all purely out of spite . He has eventually given consent for me to move with her but I need to have her surname changed and full custody to avoid having similar issues in future. How can I remove his name from her birth certificate?

  9. The father of my child says I must sign a contract and give him a child birth certificate and I don’t sign the contract or give him the certificate I won’t see the child

    What action must I take if the situation is like this

  10. Hi we need help,my son is anunmarried father,we hve supported our grsnchild before birth even after,she has our surname because of her mother’s promiscuity we asked the mother to leave its been like this for a year when we can see baby or pick her up we have receipts of everything we bought for baby its only been three since my son stoppedbuying things fir baby however he gve the mother R1250 for baby last month she bought nothing for baby,I bought milk and other stuff for baby yest now she wants maintenance,she hs to other kids with someone else they live in squalor,we can afford to take good care of thus child we can provide her with everything,the mother abuses my son verbally we got text messages she does the same to the other members in my family….how can we gsin custody of this chi l d,the mother dont hve a stable home….please help

  11. Next month I will be attending hearing on child custody. My problem is that iam not fluent in English. If I ask interpreters will I not jeopardize my chance to have a custody.

  12. 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

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. 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
    Would like to make appoint

  15. 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

    1. 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.

  16. Hi there

    I need assistance with a custody case

    what are you fees and process for assistance.

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