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Question
Posted by: Michelle | 2011/07/19

Maintenace and Childcare

HI,

my sister and her boyfriend had a baby, he barely pays childcare but spends his money on lavish lounge suits and motorbikes etc and claims he never has money.

is there anyway my sister can get full custody of the kid and him supervised visitation? He has been emotionally abusive towards my sister and we dont want the child in that environment?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

The fact that he does not pay maintenance does not mean that one may withhold him the right to have contact with the child. Only when it is not in the best interests of the child may one withhold those rights. When a child is still an infant contact is normally under supervision. We don't use the terminology of "custody" anymore, the new Children's Act had done away therewith and both parents now have joint parental rights and responsibilities. Your sister will be within her rights to demand that the contact is under supervision. I suggest that she consults a family law attorney to put a parenting plan in place.

Bertus Preller
B.Proc; AD Dip L Law
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
O: +27 (0) 21 422 1323
E: bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anon | 2011/07/21

PLEASE WHATEVER YOU DO DON''T GO TO A LAWYER. You DON''T NEED A LAWYER. They will take your money and run (they are expensive) just to read 3 sentences is a R100 and take them 15 minutes to do it (I really thought after they studied for so many years they will be more clever.) I You can go to the Family Advocate. Also read up about the subject on the internet.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: MIchelle | 2011/07/20

Good Morning and thank you both for your valuable feedback. The emotional trauma this guy has put our entire family though has been hell... We would like to get supervised visitation as the father of the child is not responsible as in he doesnt pay for childcare, he takes the two year old girl to watch karate as this is his field of expertise, when he had a borrowed car he didnt drive hr around in a car seat, whislt my sister was driving with the child in the car he pulled up the handbreak and pulled on the steering wheel of the car while the chid was in the car and surely the fact her purchased a motor bike insteasd of a car (although it is cheaper) proves he doesnt have the childs best interest at heart. My sister has a restraining order against him which he never respects. He makes demands to see his child as and when it suits him and my sister must just allow it even if its disrupting her school day. He is totally irrisponsibile. He has drawn up a parental rights agreement saying he wants the Child every second weekend and at this stage and the fact that she is 2 years old we are not happy for him to have her for weekend as its going to confuse her, often once she has seen him she becomes agro and punches and pinches he other kids at the school and also us at home, my sister is currently residing with us and the child has the support of my sister (The mother) myself and my mother so she is very well looked after. The father has threatened the high court etc and threatens to get the social worker to come to our house as its unsafe. We have burglar bars, security gates, an alarm, a big dog, a big metal gate which is access controlled onto the property,trellidoors, we have a pool which a fence that is locked with a chain and lock at all times, so i just think he is being manipulative as he is a bully. We would like him to spend time with his child at times that are suitable to both parties, but he just demands otherwise.

My sister is on anti depressants due to emotional distress caused by this man and he also pushed my sister in front of the child and threw my sister and his daughter out his flat. So first step would be the maintenance court, thereafter where do we go to get supervised contact for the father and who would supervise? would it have to be a mediator or could it be a family member?

Reply to MIchelle
Posted by: family law expert | 2011/07/20

The fact that he does not pay maintenance does not mean that one may withhold him the right to have contact with the child. Only when it is not in the best interests of the child may one withhold those rights. When a child is still an infant contact is normally under supervision. We don't use the terminology of "custody" anymore, the new Children's Act had done away therewith and both parents now have joint parental rights and responsibilities. Your sister will be within her rights to demand that the contact is under supervision. I suggest that she consults a family law attorney to put a parenting plan in place.

Bertus Preller
B.Proc; AD Dip L Law
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
O: +27 (0) 21 422 1323
E: bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert
Posted by: FIO | 2011/07/19

To get full custody and him only allowed supervised access would require a psychological report plus proof that he is abusive and his actions are harming the child.

Aside from that, court would be unlikely to grant it. Instead you would be better advised to seek counselling and draft a parenitng plan taking into account any psychological reports on mom, dad and child.

However this may sound, being emotionally abusive to mom would have to be proved, and furthermore, is he a bad father? He may be abusive to mom, but is he abusive to child, and when mom is not around is child being exposed to abuse?

I''m just throwing the reality of how hard it would be to obtain full custody and only supervised contact without concrete evidence or professional opinion through psychological reports that dad is a risk to the child.

Maintenance is always an issue, and best would be to go to maintenance court, explain situation, biks, lounge suites etc, and claim the required maintenance. Court may agree, or disagree, but at least you will have a maintenance order that he has ot comply with.

Reply to FIO

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