Posted by: Sharkey | 2013-01-14

child support and my rights


I have been living with the father of my two kids for 8 years now. We had a very bad fight this weekend (over diciplinning the kids) and he has told me thatif i dont want to do it his way I must take my things and F off. he said that I must not even think about leaving him and taking the kids. He is of the opinion that they will be much better off with him as he feels my way of reprimanding them is to soft and that giving them a hiding that makes them hop up and down is the best way to go then tapping them on the bum obviously does not work. Our kids are aged 3 and 4.

He has further said that if i do try to take the kid he will keep me so busy in court that I will be broke by the time he is finished with me then he will get the kids in any way. He earns about 40k a month vs my 7k a month. He has said that if i dare claim maintenance he will quit his job and has no problem living on the street as a bum so long as I dont get a sent from him.

What do I do and where do I start, we are not married and I can move to my family who lives 9 hours drive away if need be and get a job there but what are my rights as the mother of the children. If I do move away (9 hours drive) can I just take my kids and leave or must I move to where he can have access to the kids. He said he might consider custody that he has them 6 months and I have them the other 6 months but the girls are so young and how will it be on them?

Thank you

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Posted by: FIO | 2013-01-25

If all you say is true, this man is unreasonable, and is unaware of the law. No such thing as custody anymore, each parent has full and equal responsibilities and rights, all that matters is where the children reside primarily, which must be in their best interests. If he talks the way he does, by saying he will quit his job etc, then he may be regarded as a unsuitable parent to warrant primary residency being awarded to him.

You have every right to claim maintenance, forthe children, and possibly even for yourself. Do not let him intimidate you with his threats.

The fact that he gives the children hidings such that they hop around is a clear case of child abuse in terms of the law. That could be reason enough for you to move and take the children with you, claiming his hitting of the children in discipline is excessive, and amounts to physical abuse.

He cannot lay any charges against you if you move and take the children with you, as you have the right to do whatever you want with your children. He has the same rights. Such a case would be referred to the Office of the Family Advocate for investigation and they would make a recommendation to the courts in terms what is considered best for the children. Money is not everything when it comes to the best interests of the children. Section 7 of the Children''s Act states specifically what must be considered when decidiing what is in the best interests of the children.

Do not let his threats of court etc deter you, if you do things right he cannot do anything to you or the children.

An option is to ask him to go for Family Mediation to resolve the dispute and assist in determinng the way forward within the framework of the law. Mediators explain the law and assist parties make the best decisions, unlike attorneys who tend to sput the fight on by giving selective informatipon to clients and telling them they can get whatever they want when in fact the law is very clear about who gets what, about rights and responsibilities, about maintenance, residency etc.

Find yourself an accredited mediator, visit the South African Association of Mediators website or the Institute of Family Mediators, or Divorce Mediation Solutions. There are a number of people that specialize in these sorts of matters, inclduing FAMSA/Family Life.

Good luck

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