Our expert says:
Family law expert
Implicit in the best interests of the child is his or her well-being, education, physical and mental health, spiritual, moral and social development. The primary responsibility for the protection and promotion of the interests of the child vests in the parents. In the case of divorce or separation, the responsibility can be regulated by agreement between the parents in the best interests of the child, but subject to the overriding control of the Court as the upper guardian. In the absence of an agreement, the responsibility is primarily that of the custodian parent. Although both parents have certain interests in and obligations towards the child, such interests and obligations yield to the best interests of the child.
It is a common-place that it is in the interests of the child of divorced parents that it should not be estranged from either parent; the child should not be placed in such a position as to lose affection for either of its parents, nor that either of the parents should lose affection for and interest in the child.
It has generally been recognised that children of intellectual and emotional maturity need to be heard with regard to their wishes, desires and preferences in connection with their physical, moral, emotional and spiritual welfare. If the Court is satisfied that the child has the necessary intellectual and emotional maturity to give, in his expression of a preference, a genuine and accurate reflection of his feelings towards and relationship with each of his parents, in other words to make an informed and intelligent judgment, weight should be given to his expressed preference.
The Court will only, in exceptional circumstances, deprive a parent of guardianship or custody of his or her minor child and only if the best interests of such child dictate such a move.
Your ex will be able to reduce maintenance only if he can prove that there are new circumstances that necessitates a reduction of maintenance.
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