Posted by: Anon | 2013-02-21

Childrens best interest

Here''s my scenario :

Divorced 3 years, joint custody, kids live with me (mom).

Child (8) has struggled socially her whole life, has been in therapy, was held back starting school as not ''emotionally ready'', was then in therapy with the school phycologist - the ex didnt like phycologist or her ''findings'' and diagnosis - cut child therapy.

Childs teacher has now phoned me, to say my child is REALLY struggling socially and now academically as well!!! Falling behind, not coping, crying alot, making excuses as to why crying - and recommends a complete educational assessment. Now the school phycologist recommended taking her to a Peadiatric Phyciatrist - (appt made) and now the teacher is recommending Behavioural - educational assesment. I dont mind doing both - however the ex doesnt want to go this route - he believes there is nothing wrong with the child, doesnt need play therapy or to see a phyciatrist. Now because we have joint custody, I cant do any of these things without his buy in.

What can I legally (and for the benefit of my child) do, if the father doesnt want to listen to ANY of the people who are trying to help us in helping our child? If he says NO to play therapy, behavioral assesment and phyciatrists - is he the final word? What can I do, to ensure that my child is treated as all these fully trained and qualified people are advising me/us?

Do I need to take him to court? And if so - what court?

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Posted by: FIO | 2013-02-23

You do not need his consent to have her evaluated. In term sof the Childrens Act, any person who has shared responsibilities and rights in respect of a child may act without the consent of the other co-holder, except in matters relating to Guardianship as per Section 18 of Act.

Having said this, all the parent needs to do it inform the other parent, and take the other parents views into consideration when making a decision.

But even higher than this is the obligation of a parent to always act in the best interests of the child. Thus by taking the advice of the school etc you are acting int he best interests of thechild, andfather is not.

Sounds to me as if something is seriously wrong here - clearly there is a problem, father is in denial, I wonder why?

You DO NOT need his concent to go for evaluation, you only need to inform him. That is the law as per the Childrens Act 38 of 2005. If he wants to stop you, the only way he can stop you is by court order. I would like to see a court order the child not to be assessed...!

Reply to FIO
Posted by: Anon | 2013-02-22

Thanks for your backing people. I had a long chat to her school phycologist who gave me some tips and pointers.... and thanks for the " legal info"  in case I need it!

I only want what BEST for my child - no matter the cost, time and effort - just wish he could see I''m not doing this for FUN.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: JJ | 2013-02-22

This is a tough one ... and been there. My wife refuses to send our kids for play therapy (which is not even an assessment).

You will find it hard to find a specialist to see the children without the signed consent of both parents. Fortunately I had this from a year before, and without it, I would have been stuck.

Get the letters from the educators and specialist recommended it. Put it to him in a formal letter, requiring his response within 10 working days, also advising him that you intend to bring a High Court application if he fails to grant consent.

When he doesn''t respond, set out a simple affidavit, and take it to the High Court as a motion. He will then have 10 days to defend, and if he doesn''t, the matter gets heard very quickly and you will have a court order compelling him to agree.

The process is easy ... it will be a Rule 6 application and you don t need an attorney or advocate. You will find, that with the support of strong letters from the educators that the court will help you and find in your favour.

Reply to JJ
Posted by: JR | 2013-02-21

I don''t know the legalities, so I cant comment on that,but this is really, really sad that he will not listen to the experts and do what is best for his child.

As a parent, even if I have to foot the bill myself (the kiddie lives with you, so what''s he really going to do if you take her for therapy , take you to court? Goodie, so he can look quite the prat for denying his child what she needs) I will make sure my child gets what has been recommended.

Just get it in writing from the experts who advocate the therapy, so that he cannot turn around and say he never knew (maybe get them to send personally to him reports (my English is dilishis) of what their findings are, and why they make the recommendations that they do

Hats off to you as a mom for only thinking of your child. You will be richly Blessed, and, I do believe that what goes around comes around. Your ex will be sorry. Just make sure that his remorse does not come at the expense of your child.

Reply to JR

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