Questions parents ask in child custody disputes. What they want to know.

Does the abuse of alcohol affect the outcome of a child custody case?

Questions parents ask in child custody disputes. What are some of the difficulties parents face when dealing with child custody issues and problems?

When parents have issues and difficulties regarding their parental responsibilities and rights, they often go online for answers. These issues can relate to contact rights or guardianship issues. One parent may want to have more contact, and the other parent refuses such a request. Or a parent wants to relocate with a minor child, and the other parent refuses guardianship consent. Whatever the issues are, they need to be resolved in the child’s best interests. Read on for some interesting questions parents ask online.

Does the abuse of alcohol affect the outcome of a child custody case?

Abusing alcohol is very dangerous. Not only for you but for your relationship and parenting as well. If a parent abuses alcohol in the presence of a child, then the child is in danger, or at the very least, in a potential neglectful situation. If both parents abuse alcohol, then the case is much more serious and social welfare needs to get involved. On the issue of a child custody case, the abuse of alcohol is material and would play a huge role in the outcome of the case. The extent could be that custody is revoked.

What can you not say in a child custody mediation process?

You can say whatever you wish to say. However irrelevant information is discouraged. At the end of the day, you should assist the court with relevant information that would be of use to the mediation process. Sometimes bringing up the past and old issues would not be of much use to your mediation case. Badmouthing and trying your utmost to put the other parent in a bad light could be extremely damaging to your case. Focus on what is important on moving forward.

What evidence can you use in a custody case?

In a child custody case, the court needs to know that all relevant information was placed before it. This is so as the court would then be able to make a fair decision. You can use any evidence to prove your case. However, the evidence must be relevant. Dealing with the past or unresolved personal issues won’t be of much use to the court. Focus on the child and how either parent would best be able to care for the child.

How do you write a letter to a judge for child custody?

The courts have their own set of rules and procedure. Court procedures are usually commenced with a Founding Affidavit, followed by an Answering Affidavit, and then a Replying Affidavit. After you provided information via affidavit, you would give a copy to the other party. Letters can be provided, but it should be attached to an affidavit as an annexure.

Why do fathers walk away after a divorce?

Many marriages are stressful and the divorce is the final chapter. Not all fathers walk away after a divorce. If they do, it may be because they want nothing to do with the ex-wife. If there are children involved, then there would be a limited relationship with the mother. For example, should she have custody, then you may have to pay her child support and so on. Sometimes, the least contact you can have with your former spouse the better. Especially if the marriage was riddled with domestic violence.

What are the chances of a father getting full custody in South Africa?

The chances are high if he can prove that it would be in the child’s best interest. It does not mean that you are the father that you are entitled to have full custody. Some fathers never formed part of a child’s life and all of a sudden wants full custody. That does not make sense. The child does not even know the man. Under those circumstances, phased in contact should first take place.

What to do if your ex-partner or lover won’t let you see your child?

There may be good grounds why an ex-husband or spouse won’t let you see the child. One could be that the child does not know you, or you are a danger to the child. However, unless there is good grounds to refuse you contact to your child, such contact must take place. The type and duration of the contact may be in dispute. And the mother may set down the terms. If you are not happy with the refusal or the terms, you would need to approach the Children’s Court or the High Court.

What can I do if the mother keeps a child from the father?

For a mother to keep a child away from a father, she would need to have good grounds. For example, the child is being neglected by the other parent or is in danger. The father needs to approach the Children’s Court or the High Court.

If the child does not know the father at all, and the father is a drug addict, then it may make sense to keep the child away from the father. Each case is different. At the end of the day, parents must do what is best for the child.

Who owns the child? The father or the mother?

No one owns the child. However, both parents have a legal obligation to care for the child. A court may grant one parent more rights over the child than the other. For example, one parent would care for the child during the week, and the other parent only on weekends. A court may also limit guardianship rights. For example, allowing only one parent to consent when it comes to a child’s school, passport application or travelling overseas.

Who has more parental rights?

Usually, both parents would have equal parental rights. However, a court can limit a parent’s parental rights. If the parents cannot agree on how to care for a child, a court can step in and limit certain parental rights if it deems so necessary. This it would do if it believes that it would be in the child’s best interest. For example, a parent cannot collect a child on weekends because the child is neglected when in that parent’s care.

How does child support work if the mother has no job?

If the mother does not have a job, then the father would have to support the child according to his means. However, in deciding what amount the father should pay, various factors have to be looked at. One needs to look at his income, expenses, assets and liabilities.

Can a father take a newborn child away from the mother?

He can if it would be in the child’s best interest. Usually, a newborn would be best cared for by the mother. However, if the mother is a big drug addict, or a drunkard and unable to care for the child, it may be ordered that the father care for the child.

Can a mother lose custody for cheating in South Africa?

Cheating and being able to care for a child are two separate issues. However, if the cheating affects her ability to care for the child, then it could affect her chances of retaining custody. For example, she is out whole night with different people.

At what age can the father take the baby?

It is always best for a child to be cared for by his or her mother once he or she is born. Mothers have a beneficial bond with the child after birth and would be able to provide the child with breastmilk and so on. Under certain circumstances, it may be best that the father cares for a child soon after birth. And in other cases, much later. A father can take custody at any age. Generally, the older the child, the easier it would be. At the end of the day, when deciding when a child should be taken care of by the father, the child’s best interests needs to be upheld.

How can a father win a child custody case in Cape Town?

A father can win a child custody case in Cape Town or any city in South Africa if he can prove that it would be best for the child to be in his care. There need to be facts to support a successful custody application. The father should be able to prove that he can care for the child better than the mother and that it would be best for there to be a change in custody arrangements. Earning more, or having a better car or home is not necessarily deciding factors when it comes to winning a child custody case.

What is considered an unfit home?

An unfit home is a home where a child is in danger or neglected. For example, there is alcohol laying around or a balcony where the child can easily fall from. Our law expects all parents to be the best parents they can be for the child. Not all homes are the same in South Africa. A fit home for one set of children may not be a fit home for another set of children. At the end of the day, as long as parents try their best to keep their children safe, that should be adequate to call a fit home.

How do I find an unfit parent?

Not all parents are fit parents. However, they are the parents of the child and need to care for him or her. Parents should try to become the best parents they can be for their child. As time evolves, they will become better and fitter at it. You may speak to social workers in your area who can advise you where to find an unfit parent.

How do you Co-parent with a toxic ex-partner or spouse?

Before a couple had a child, they would usually communicate well with each other. This would continue after the child is born until when the couple separates. At this point, the level of communication they had previously no longer exists. This is when their relationship could become toxic, or at least so for one of the parents.

At this point, a child needs both parents to communicate well with each other. This is not only in the child’s best interests, but also would benefit the parents. It would be best to see a family counsellor with your ex to assist in co-parenting if this problem persists.


About the Author

Advocate South Africa

Legal Advisor for Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd
Call 0211110090
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3 thoughts on “Questions parents ask in child custody disputes. What they want to know.

  1. I had an incident where I had one beer while cleaning. I forgot that I already took my anxiety meds. By the time my son’s father dropped him off I felt a bit drowsy. I asked my son if it was ok for me to take a nap before my family came (we were supposed to have a pool party that day). I think my son’s father could see I’m not looking ok and went straight to police station after dropping him…I went to take a nap next thing I know police barged into my place and took my son. Father made an affidavit at police station. And now his telling me that I need to be in court in 2 weeks regarding visitation rights. And until then I cannot see my son only at his house with his girlfriend mom and him around. We do have a social worker bit I never got any information from her about going to court. I don’t know what to do now.

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